Green Investment Bank sale completed

29th August 2017


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The UK government has completed the sale of its Green Investment Bank (GIB) to a consortium led by the Australian-based Macquarie Group in a £2.3bn deal.

It is hoped that this will result in at least £3bn of new investment in the green economy over the next three years, surpassing the bank’s track record of £3.4bn over the four-and-half years since it was established.

The GIB will also be renamed as the Green Investment Group to overcome regulatory barriers to using the term “bank” in some international markets, allowing it to make investments overseas.

Climate change and industry minister, Claire Perry, said: “We led the world in setting up the GIB and now that it’s in the private sector, it will be able to operate on an international level to tackle the global challenge of climate change.”

Perry went on to say that the sale put the bank in a perfect position to help finance green initiatives in the UK, as well as help the country realise commitments set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

However, an investigation earlier this year by think tank E3G and Greenpeace UK uncovered evidence that the GIB may be preparing itself for ‘asset-stripping’, behaviour Macquarie has previously been accused of undertaking in Britain.

It was found that the bank had established holding companies and multiple corporate layers within the organisation, action often synonymous with leveraging excessive debt, the stripping of assets, and tax avoidance.

Greenpeace UK policy director, Dr Doug Parr, dubbed the GIB deal a “disaster”, saying that the country had given away one of its key tools for advancing green technologies.

“The hole left by the GIB will slow our transition to a clean energy system, set us back on reaching our climate targets, and mean more of the jobs from new sectors will go elsewhere,” he said.

“If the government picks up its pace, the UK could be a world leader in renewable and green technology. But selling a great British success story to a controversial Australian bank known for asset-stripping is a disaster.”

The government said it would continue to hold an interest in a small portfolio of the GIB’s existing green infrastructure investments until they can be sold on in a way that returns best value for taxpayers’ money.

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