The English High Court has cleared the way for the privatisation of the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank after rejecting a bid from a potential bidder for a judicial review of the sale process.
Sustainable Development Capital (SDCL) petitioned for judicial review of the government’s decision to award preferred bidder status to another party in relation to the privatisation of the bank.
It has been widely reported that the Australian merchant bank MacQuarrie Group is the British government’s preferred bidder.
The GIB was originally set up in 2012 with £3.8 billion of state funding to encourage private and public sector investment into environmentally friendly projects. Macquarie is thought to be planning to sell some of the assets once the deal is complete.
In rejecting SDCL’s bid for a judicial review, Judge Clive Lewis said that its claim was not brought within the necessary timeframe, and that in any case the claimant had “not demonstrated any arguable ground that the process was carried out unlawfully”.
“The <British> government and Macquarie have now reached agreement in principle on the terms of the sale and are now in a position to sign a binding, contractual agreement providing for the sale of the Green Investment Bank”.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy declined to comment on the “commercially sensitive” privatisation process.
The Scottish Government has repeatedly – but unsuccessfully – sought guarantees from that the 50 Green Investment Bank jobs – which include some of the highest-paid British civil servants – at its Edinburgh head office will remain in the capital after privatisation.