Edinburgh-based UK Green Investment Bank ‘sold-off’ for £1.2 billion

green-investment-bankThe British government last night refused to confirm or deny that an Australian investment bank has agreed a £multi-million deal to buy the Edinburgh-based UK Green Investment Bank.

Unconfirmed reports from Australia suggest that the MacQuarrie Group has agreed to buy the bank for $1.22 billion to acquire the entire 100% equity stake.

It has also been reported that MacQuarrie has agreed to fund future investments and to meet the bank’s outstanding capital commitments of around £1 billion.

MacQuarrie is reported to have out-bid a rival bid from a consortium which includes Lloyds Bank – which owns the Bank of Scotland.

The Green Investment Bank was set up four years ago under a deal pushed through by the Liberals as part of their price for propping up the last UK coalition government with the Tories. 

A spokesman for the British energy and industry department (DeBEIS) in London said only: “There is a sale process ongoing. We are unable to comment on the name of any possible bidders nor the size of their bids.”

There is no ‘closing date’ set for the sale of the Green Investment Bank.

It is a widely accepted law of Scottish political gravity that when a UK public sector body located in Scotland is privatised, the move into the private sector is swiftly followed by a physical move of the head office and senior management to London.

Senior officials at the Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh include some of the highest-paid civil servants in Britain, where director-level salaries of £250,000 pa are commonplace.

But this is only a fraction of what senior bank management, such as Chief Executive Shaun Kingsbury, could expect to pocket for a private-sector job in London.

Meanwhile, James Curran, the former head of Scotland’s national environment protection agency, has been appointed by the British government as one of the trustees of the Green Purposes Co Ltd.

This is the special corporate vehicle created by the UK government to ensure that the Green Investment Banks sticks to its stated policy of investing in renewable energy projects – even after the’ trading for profit’ bank itself is privatised.

In addition to Curran, currently a non-executive member of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Delivery Board, the other Green Purposes special trustees include Tushita Ranchan, a former managing director of a renewable energy company and board member of London Array offshore wind farm, and Lord (Robin) Teverson, Convenor of the House of Lords’ EU select committee on energy and environment.

Pixie Energy

Pixie logo Pixie Energy is an incubator and a facilitator of strategic research and project work, focusing on energy regulation, policy and markets at the local and national level. Find out more about Pixie Energy here.

Local Energy Matters: Scotland

Local Energy Matters: Scotland is a free-to-download brochure with a focus on energy tariffs in the two Scottish electricity distribution regions, as well news on local energy and low-carbon schemes.

Previous editions can be download here.

Scottish energy market overview

You can read an overview of the Scottish energy market here.

Scottish Government energy feed