The EU Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR) adopted in December 2022 creates a new instrument to prevent foreign subsidies from distorting the European Union (EU) internal market. It aims to fill a perceived regulatory gap left by EU State aid rules applying to subsidies granted by EU countries but not by foreign states. It started to apply on 12 July 2023 and its notification obligations kick in on 12 October 2023. Procedural details are laid down in the Implementing Regulation (IR) which entered into force on 13 July 2023.
Key things you need to know about the FSR and the IR:
- The FSR creates an additional layer of deal conditionality for sizeable transactions besides potential foreign direct investment (FDI) and merger control clearance.
- From 12 October 2023, when acquiring (including jointly) control of a company in the EU or participating in a public tender in the EU, companies – including EU ones – will have to notify the European Commission (Commission) of foreign financial contributions (FFCs) received from non-EU states if the relevant thresholds are met or if the Commission so requests. Notification is compulsory and suspensory. Failure to notify or to suspend closing pending clearance may lead to severe sanctions. Information requirements are far-reaching as they comprise FFCs irrespective of whether they have a link with the notified transaction or public procurement procedure.
- Beyond notified transactions and public procurement procedures, the Commission may launch ex officio investigations where it suspects that a foreign subsidy may distort the internal market. The FSR can relate to any type of activity unless already governed by other legislation.
- Where following an investigation (initiated either in relation to a notification or on an ex officio basis) the Commission determines that a foreign subsidy risks distorting the EU internal market, remedies could apply, and the Commission could even prohibit the transaction or the award of a public contract.
We have put together a brief overview for your reference. We would be happy to facilitate a discussion with our team to review what this regulation could mean for your company.