The EU Commission assesses retrospectively whether a public loan granted to an undertaking is at a market rate (Železničná)

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HOW TO ASSESS A SHAREHOLDER LOAN* Introduction When a public authority grants a loan to a company, the methodology in the 2008 Commission communication on reference and discount rates can be used to determine whether the loan contains State aid. However, that methodology assumes that the lender is unrelated to the borrower. What happens, then, when the lender is also owner of the borrower? The Commission had to deal with this issue in decision 2019/1712 on a public loan granted by Slovakia to Železničná Spoločnosť Cargo Slovakia [ZSSK Cargo]. The borrower, ZSSK Cargo, was 100% owned by the Slovak government. It was split out of the Slovak rail operator in 2005 and became responsible only for freight transport. The loan in question amounted to EUR 166 million and was granted in

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