Green Investment Bank sold in £2.3bn deal

The Green Investment Bank

Image The Green Investment Bank was launched in 2012

The Government has sold the Green Investment Bank to a consortium led by Australia's Macquarie Group in a controversial £2.3bn deal.

After a drawn-out process, in which the deal has faced strong political opposition and a legal challenge, the government and the consortium, made up of Macquarie, the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5 and the Universities Superannuation Scheme, confirmed the sale this morning.

"The Green Investment Bank has been very successful in attracting private capital to the UK's green economy", said Nick Hurd, Climate Change and Industry Minister.

"It now makes sense to move it into the private sector where it will be free from the constraints of public sector ownership".

GIB has a well-funded new owner that is committed to the Bank's green mission, with a track record of success in green investment and an ambition to grow the business.

It made a net pre-tax loss of £6.2 million in its first ten-and-a-half months of doing business, when it had access to £3 billion of public money to invest in four priority sectors: offshore wind, energy efficiency, waste-to-energy, and waste recycling.

The £2.3 billion deal comprises a £1.7 billion transaction price and a £0.6 billion commitment for existing projects.

Commenting in January, when Macquarie emerged as the government's preferred buyer for the GIB, EAC Chair Mary Creagh MP said: "The GIB should continue to exist as a low-carbon investor or its sale should not proceed".

"Selling the Green Investment Bank is environmentally irresponsible, and on the eve of an election is politically dubious".

Set up by the coalition government, the GIB owns stakes in a large portfolio of projects, including energy-efficient street lighting, wind farms and biomass plants. USS and GCP Infrastructure Investments will invest in the low carbon lending platform.

"We have secured fair value for the United Kingdom taxpayer".

Announcement of the bank's privatisation prompted fears that the institution's green mission would be lost and after Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) called the sale process "rushed", Javid announced that a "golden share" would be created to protect its green credentials through a veto power to block any move that contradicted the bank's objective.

Critics said the government had failed to guarantee the future for the GIB's green credentials and criticised it for a lack of transparency. The group plans to integrate its existing United Kingdom green energy principal investing business into GIB.

"We Macquarie Group of Companies 2 understand the responsibilities that come with this ownership, and we are fully committed to maintaining its green goal as we grow the business".

The GIB will become Macquarie's platform for principal investments in green infrastructure projects in the United Kingdom and Europe. "The trustees look forward to working constructively with Macquarie to ensure that GIB continues to play a leading role in supporting green investment".

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