The rescue fund for strategic companies managed by SEPI has already given its approval to the concession of 550 million to the steel company Celsa, in which it may be the largest aid approved so far by the State since the creation of the mechanism in July 2022. Although this amount is 150 million less than the company's initial request (700 million).
But the aid has not yet been approved by the fund's managing board, and its arrival still has an obstacle course ahead of it. First, the creditors of the Catalan firm must be the ones to give the go-ahead to public support, as Expansión has advanced and sources close to Celsa have confirmed to this newspaper, in addition to SEPI itself.
After the approval of the creditors, it will be the management council of the fund for strategic companies who must give approval to the rescue. But this will not be the last stop before reaching the Council of Ministers. The aid is articulated in an ordinary loan of 270 million and another participatory loan of 280 million. And because the latter exceeds 250 million euros, it will have to pass the examination of the European Commission as established by the rule that gives rise to the Solvency Support Fund for Strategic Companies (Fasse). It will be the first rescue that has to pass this filter, because in the 19 aid approved to date this amount has never been exceeded in the form of a participatory loan.
Specifically, Brussels stipulates that when exceeding 250 million in hybrid capital instruments «the Spanish authorities will accompany the notification, proof of the written request for aid by the beneficiary company, together with the necessary information so that the Commission assess whether the intervention is in accordance with the stipulated conditions”. A process, which SEPI sources confirm to this newspaper that the steel company will have to go through.
If these barriers are overcome and this aid is approved by the Government, the fund managed by SEPI would exceed the 2,600 million granted to companies in trouble by Covid-19, barely 25% of its total endowment, when there is barely a month and a half left to lock the mechanism.