― Reuters picLONDON, April 20 ― The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB), created by the British government to fund environmental projects, is to be sold to Australian financial services firm Macquarie Group in a £2.3 billion (RM12.9 billion) deal, the government said today.
Established in 2012, GIB was the world's first dedicated green investment bank, created to accelerate investment in the green economy.
The deal comprises a 1.7 billion pound price tag and approximately 600 million pounds in funding commitments for existing GIB projects.
The controversial move, criticised by opponents for undermining the bank's original "green" credentials, is said to meet the Government objectives of securing value for money while "ensuring its green mission, free from the constraints of public sector ownership".
Since 2010 Macquarie has invested or arranged more than £8.5bn of capital into green energy projects globally, including offshore wind, solar, waste and bioenergy and tidal energy projects in the UK.
GIB will manage or supervise over £4bn of green infrastructure assets and projects under the deal once it formally closes.
Five independent trustees have been appointed to hold the bank's special share and they will take up their positions once the sale is complete.
"Macquarie will bring all of this to GIB, along with its own impressive track record of green investments", he added.
"Its vision for the future growth of GIB demonstrates a redoubling of its commitment to a low-carbon economy".
USS is putting cash into a new offshore wind power fund, the GIB's second - and Macquarie said it will also deploy capital from one of the infrastructure funds it runs on behalf of other investors.
The Green Investment Bank platform, brand and Edinburgh office will be maintained with a substantial staff presence in the city.
Macquarie has committed to a £3bn target for new green infrastructure investment over the next three years as part of the acquisition with GIB to be the primary vehicle for renewables spending in the United Kingdom and Europe.
Critics have also argued it is the wrong time to sell the bank, particularly in light of the government's commitments to low-carbon infrastructure in its flagship Industrial Strategy. The business will be led by senior Green Investment Bank executives, supported by key existing functions.
"The assets include offshore wind projects and a portfolio of renewable loans, illustrating our capability to invest across the capital structure". The Green Purposes Company Ltd (GPC) which holds the special share, sought to downplay fears of a change in goal of the bank in its response to the news.
A consortium led by Australian bank Macquarie Group Ltd. bought the United Kingdom.
The Australian group has pledged to make £3bn of new investments in the next three years, "exceeding GIB's track record of committing £3.4bn of investment over the four and a half years since it was founded", Nick Hurd, the energy minister, said.
"The hole left by the Green Investment Bank 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".