The SBCI currently sources its funds from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the German promotional Bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). The Minister for Finance has provided a State guarantee in respect of borrowings received from the EIB and KfW. As a result of this State guarantee, SBCI products may contain an element of State aid (in the form of discounted loans) and must comply with EU law governing State aid.
State aid can occur whenever State resources are used to provide assistance that gives certain entities, engaged in economic activity, an advantage over others by virtue of benefiting from those State resources. Generally, State aid is prohibited by the EC Treaty. However, State aid may be given legally by using approved EU schemes for State aid or by getting EC approval.
The European Commission has determined that State aid given to undertakings which comply with the De Minimis Regulations has a negligible impact on trade and competition. State aid which remains below a certain ceiling, depending on sector, and otherwise complies with the De Minimis Regulations (de minimis aid) is not subject to pre-clearance with the European Commission. The maximum amount of de minimis aid any single recipient can receive is €200,000 (gross grant equivalent) over a three year fiscal period. The total amount of de minimis aid given to a single recipient performing road freight transport for hire or reward cannot exceed €100,000 over a three year fiscal period. For loans, the amount of de minimis aid which is provided to a borrower (in the form of a discounted interest rate) is calculated into its “gross grant equivalent” (based on the discount prevailing at the time the aid is granted) 1. The de minimis aid is not equal to the total amount of the loan. Applicants for SBCI de minimis loans must be aware that such loans are provided to applicants subject to compliance with the De Minimis Regulations.
De minimis aid is cumulative. To ensure the relevant ceilings are not exceeded and the cumulative rules are complied with, an SME application must provide a declaration about other de minimis aid covered by the Regulation or by other de minimis regulations received during the fiscal/calendar year concerned and the previous two years. It should be noted that a false declaration by an SME, resulting in the de minimis threshold being exceeded, could later give rise to the aid being recovered with interest. De minimis aid can be in the form of a grant, equity investment, guarantee or interest rate discount on a loan. De minimis aid could have been received from any State Agency, Department or Local Authority.
1 The rate used is as specified in the Communication from the Commission on the revision of the method for setting the reference and discount rates (O) C 14, 19.1.2008, p. 6)
The SBCI Investment and Working Capital Loan and Refinance of Exiting Banks loan will be offered under the de minimis aid exemption contained in the Regulation. In the event that de minimis aid is granted under this SBCI financing arrangement, the SBCI will confirm directly to the applicant the gross grant equivalent after drawdown of the funds.
Please note the following activities are excluded from SBCI loans offered under the de minimis exemption:
Please refer to Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407 2013 for comprehensive details on specific exclusions.
The Agriculture Investment Loan supported by the SBCI is subject to the provisions of the Agriculture Investment Loan Scheme 2015. This Scheme has been published by the SBCI in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture under Commission Regulation (EU) no 702/2014 of 25 June 2014, which declares that certain categories of aid in the agricultural sector are compatible with the internal market and permissible under this EU Regulation by means of a block exemption. The Agriculture Investment Loan Scheme operates within the State aid rules by virtue of this block exemption.
Details of this Scheme are provided here.
Full details of the Regulation can be found at Commission Regulation EU No 702 2014.
The first product supported by the SBCI under this Scheme is the Agriculture Investment Loan. This is governed by AILS 2015 however the SBCI product has its own specific parameters in addition to those contained in the Scheme. The key elements of the SBCI Agriculture Investment Loan product which differentiate it from the Scheme are as follows:
Apart from the above noted differences all other rules within the Scheme apply. Some key elements of the Scheme are set out below such as eligible costs, exclusions to the Scheme and publication requirements. For full details please consult the AILS 2015 page.
An application for an Agriculture Investment Loan under this Scheme can only be considered if the application is received prior to work on the project or activity starting.
When applying for an Agriculture Investment Loan, an SME will be required to provide a full list of the project costs upfront. For the purposes of calculating aid intensity and eligible costs under this Scheme, all figures used shall be taken before any deduction of tax or other charge. An SME must provide documentary evidence which shall be clear, specific and contemporary.
The following activities are excluded from the Agriculture Investment Loan:
As required under the Regulation, the information referred to below will be published on the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland’s State Aid Website on each individual aid award where they exceed the following:
Please note that the state aid amounts above represent the amount of aid that may be generated through the form of discounted interest rates on loans and does not represent the loan amount. Only the aid amount is required to be published and not the size of the loan. This will be monitored on a case by case basis and is not expected to arise in many situations.
Information shall be published in a spread sheet data format, which allows data to be searched, extracted and easily published on the Internet, such as CSV or XML format. Access to the State aid website shall be allowed to any interested party without restrictions. No prior user registration shall be required to access the State aid website.
The following information on individual aid award shall be published:
Scheme Terms and Conditions
The Borrower must comply with the following:
The Borrower must confirm to the bank that it satisfies one of the following conditions:
As at the date of the letter of sanction entered into by the Customer in relation to the Facility in question, it satisfies the eligibility criteria for the Scheme and that it undertakes to procure that it shall at all times comply with those eligibility criteria.
The loan received by the customer is exclusively for working capital purposes;
The DAFM and SBCI will comply with the reporting requirements as set out in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1613 in respect of loans to livestock and dairy farmers, and with de minimis state aid reporting requirements in respect of loans to other farmers.
The rights of data subjects and how they may be exercised are laid down in the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003. The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner publishes a guide to your rights as a data subject.
Publication of CAP Beneficiaries Data
In accordance with EU Regulation 1306/2013, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is obliged to ensure annual ex-post publication of all of the beneficiaries of CAP funding, both legal and non-legal persons.
Further information is available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine website: www.agriculture.gov.ie
The state aid amount for a loan is arrived at by selecting the term of the loan in years (horizontal blue axis) and the value of the loan in Euro (vertical yellow axis) in the state aid matrix below. Where the term and/or loan amount(s) falls between two values the higher figure(s) should be selected. This is illustrated in the following example of a loan of €41,000 for 4.5 years:
State Aid Matrix (indicative)
Note: The state aid matrix provided is for indicative purposes only.