The EU’s anti-trust regulator has opened an investigation into whether Romania has broken the bloc’s rules regarding state aid in its rescue of Bucharest’s troubled National Uranium Company, according to the European Commission.
Romania notified the Commission of a plan to restructure the Compania Nationala a Uraniului S.A. (CNU), which produces raw nuclear plant fuel. The restructuring plan foresees around €95 million of support to CNU, in the form of grants, subsidies, debt write-offs, and debt-to-equity conversions.
The plan follows an urgent loan of around €13.3 million that had been provided to keep the company afloat, which the Commission temporarily approved on September 30, 2016.
EU rules allow state aid under strict conditions, notably when firms have a sound restructuring plan to ensure long-term viability, but the Commission notified Romania that it questions whether the planned restructuring loan is in line with these conditions.
The investigation of DG COMP by the Commission will examine whether the proposed restructuring plan could restore the long-term viability of CNU without continued State aid and whether CNU or market investors sufficiently contribute to the restructuring costs. This would ensure that the restructuring plan does not rely mainly on public funding and that the aid is proportionate, while also establishing facts on measures made by Romania to limit competition through the aid package.