The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves the renewal of a Norwegian loan guarantee scheme for businesses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves renewal of Norwegian loan guarantee scheme for businesses*

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved the renewal of a Norwegian loan guarantee scheme that will help ensure access to finance for businesses facing acute liquidity shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today’s renewal of the loan guarantee scheme means that measure will be extended until 30 June 2022. There are no changes to the scheme’s budget of NOK 50 billion (EUR 4.91 billion).

The loan guarantee scheme means that the Norwegian state will provide guarantees covering 90% of bank loans provided to otherwise healthy companies that are facing an acute liquidity shortage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures reintroduced to contain the spread of the virus.

Norway is currently experiencing a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases and a number of containment measures have been re-introduced in recent weeks. This has led to renewed uncertainty and financial challenges for enterprises across the country.

The loan guarantee scheme was initially notified and approved on 26 March 2020. In April 2020, the scheme was amended to also include large enterprises, and the following month it was prolonged until 31 December 2020. In July 2020, the scheme was amended to include micro and small enterprises in difficulty, and in November it was prolonged and amended until 30 June 2021. In June 2021, ESA approved a further prolongation to the scheme until 31 October 2021.

Today’s renewal is approved in line with the European Commission’s Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support the economy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Norway notified the decision on 16 December 2021. ESA’s decision can be found here.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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EFTA Surveillance Authority, The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves the renewal of a Norwegian loan guarantee scheme for businesses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, 16 December 2021, e-Competitions December 2021, Art. N° 104334

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