EU clears state aid to former ATEbank

The European Commission on Friday approved the liquidation aid given to Greece’s ATEbank, whose healthy assets were sold to Piraeus Bank in July 2012, with the rest to be wound down.

While three measures taken by Greece, such as a 7.471 billion-euro injection to bridge the bank’s funding gap, were considered to be state aid for ATEbank, the European Commission said they were limited and within the rules.

“The Commission found that the aid was limited to the minimum necessary to ensure an orderly resolution. In addition, the market exit of ATEbank limits the distortions of competition brought about by the aid,» said the Commission, which acts as the bloc’s competition watchdog.

The Commission said the takeover of healthy assets by Greece’s fourth-biggest lender Piraeus Bank did not constitute state aid, with Piraeus putting in the best bid in a tender process.