11 October 2022

For enterprises in the Flemish and Walloon region dealing with rising energy prices and experiencing trouble with employment, production and purchasing power, a support package has been created by each government. In Flanders, on the one side, compensating increased energy costs and extending available loans, on the other side, the launch of an impulse programme to accelerate the energy transition. In Wallonia, this is ranging from direct support for enterprises dealing with the rising energy prices to loans and repayments. 

The Flemish goverment 

1.- Energy cost support package 

What is it? 

Extra support for energy costs given to enterprises in the Flemish region.  

Who is eligible? 

All types of Flemish enterprises under strict conditions: 

  • Proof that the enterprise was sufficiently healthy before the crisis; 
  • Proof that the enterprise today is suffering operational losses due to the energy crisis; 
  • Specifically, it will have to more than double its energy costs in the fourth quarter 2022 compared to 2021. 

To avoid healthy companies deciding to shut down their operations too soon, companies are not allowed to pay dividends to shareholders in the year they receive aid.  

  • The use of temporary unemployment is allowed for up to 35% of employment in the same period of the previous year 

How much funding is available? 

The Flemish Government is releasing 250 million euro for the support for two quarters. 

Companies that had at least 7,500 euro in energy expenditure in 2021 are eligible for:  

  • 25% support on energy surplus cost 
  • Limited to 80% of their operational loss 
  • Up to a maximum of 500,000 euro per quarter 

More energy-intensive companies are eligible for: 

  • 30% support on the energy additional cost 
  • Limited to 80% of their operational loss  
  • Up to a maximum of 4,000,000 euro per quarter 

Companies in sensitive sectors are eligible for:  

  • 35% support on the energy additional cost 
  • Limited to 80% of their operational loss  
  • Up to a maximum of 7,500,000 euro per quarter 

Extra: Extension of bridging loan 

The bridging loan made available by VLAIO since February 2022 for Flemish SMEs facing liquidity needs as a result of the Ukraine crisis, is being extended and its amount increased. 

The loan has a 1.5% interest rate and allows the following: 

  • A small company to borrow up to 750,000 euro 
  • A medium-sized company to borrow up to 400,000 euro 

Loans up to 50,000 euro have a term of 24 months and amounts above a term of 36 months. No repayments have to be made during the first 12 months.   

 A new, extended variant of the bridging loan is being developed:  

  • A loan available to all companies (small, medium and large);  
  • And will allow up to 2 million euro to be borrowed; 
  • With a term of six years. 

2.- Energy transition impulse programme 

The Flemish government is focusing on new technologies that increase energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy (waste heat recovery, heat pumps, electric boilers, solar energy, biomass, geothermal energy, …). The goal is to reduce companies’ energy costs over time and reduce dependence on expensive fossil fuels. 

The impulse programme has a fund of almost 100 million euro to accelerate the transition to renewable energy among Flemish companies in 2022 and 2023. How? 

  • An integrated programme with measures to inform, advise and guide companies by demonstrating new applications.   

Now, these support measures and the impulse programme are still being concretised and it is not yet possible to apply for them. 

The Walloon Government 

1.- Direct aid 

A budget of 175 million euro has been made available to set up direct aid for companies affected by the sudden rise in energy prices. 

The terms are as follows (per quarter): 

  • A company is energy intensive when the purchase of energy products reaches at least 3% of the value of production 
  • These are companies in certain specific sectors, e.g. aluminium, glass fibre, pulp, fertiliser or hydrogen producing companies, chemicals. The detailed list of sectors is yet to be published. 

The aid will be granted for the 4th quarter of 2022 and for the 1st quarter of 2023 in case of prolongation at European level of the temporary crisis framework in which aid at national/regional level must be included.  

The intervention percentage is calculated based on the difference between the invoice for the period in question (the quarter) and double the invoice for the corresponding period of the previous year. The conditions are as follows:

  • The annual energy bill must exceed 7,500 euro for the year 2021;
  • The company must not claim economic unemployment of more than 35% compared to the previous year’s reference period;
  • The company must not pay dividends to shareholders in the year in which it receives regional aid. The aid granted must not be valued as part of the payment of any dividend relating to the financial year in which the aid is granted.

2.- Carbon leakage 

The Walloon Government has also decided to support the competitiveness of the supply of the most electricity-intensive industrial installations.  

A budget of 30 million euro has been set aside for the “compensation of indirect costs” measure, which aims to grant aid to companies to offset the costs of indirect emissions. 

3.- Loans and guarantees 

Repayment facilities, soft loans and specific guarantees for an amount of 300 million euro are also foreseen to complement the direct aid. 

4.- Grants in favour of energy transition

  • Easy’green helps SMEs to finance investments in energy transition and reduction of CO2 emissions.
  • WalEnergie provides Walloon companies with funding to invest in sustainable energy transition.

For further insights on these support measures, do not hesitate to contact an FI Group specialist. We will stay abreast of the latest changes and guide you through the landscape to tailor-made support.

FI Group has 20 years of experience and wants to support you in understanding and exploiting the available R&D+I opportunities. Our experts are at your disposal to analyse your project and take the next steps together with you towards innovation.  

Yvette Poumpalova

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