The European Commission has concluded that the "Growth Facility", a Dutch scheme to facilitate investments by providing guarantees on 50% of new subordinated loans and equity, does not involve state aid within the meaning of EU rules.
The Dutch Growth Facility is a governmental guarantee scheme meant for small and medium-sized companies wanting to attract venture capital quickly, in order to finance activities such as acquisition of a new entity, a buy-out or an international expansion. Financing such activities often proofs to be difficult, especially for small and medium-sized companies. In order to support these companies in such activities, the Dutch State created the Growth Facility, which offers the party financing the activity a 50% guarantee of new subordinated loans and equity to these companies for up to 12 years. Loans guaranteed under the Dutch Growth Facility can range from €2.5 million to €25 million.
The Dutch State compensates 50% of any loss, which lowers the risks of the financing party significantly. In order to apply for the Growth Facility as a financing party, you should apply for participation in the programme with the Growth Facility team. As a company, you cannot apply for the Growth Facility, but you can turn to one of the financing parties participating in the Growth Facility.
The European Commission faced the question whether or not the funds provided by the Dutch State under the Growth Facility qualify as state aid. The Commission concluded that the Dutch guarantee scheme does not constitute state aid to the financing parties. Relevant factors supporting this conclusion were that the fees paid in exchange for the guarantees give the Dutch State an appropriate remuneration level, which ensures that the Growth Facility is self-financing.
In March 2018, the Commission already approved the 'Extended Growth Facility', which is a similar measure available for fast growing medium and large companies. Loans under the Extended Growth Facility can range from €1.5 million to €150 million and can last for up to 8 years.