The Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank has created 14 new companies ahead of its stated privatisation by the UK government, according to latest Companies House documents obtained by Greenpeace.
As a result, some London-based news organisations are presently speculating that the proposed ‘trade-sale’ to the MacQuarrie Group, the Australian merchant bank affectionately known in the City as the ‘Vampire Kangaroo’ will be halted by the Dept of Business & Energy (DeBEIS) in favour of a £3 billiion stock-market flotation (IPO).
Either way, the likely outcome will see a swift departure of some of the highest-paid British renewable energy finance jobs from Scotland to London.
According to Greenpeace financial experts, this structure would, in effect, leave only a brass-plaque name-plate in Edinburgh of the registered company.
The new entities – including 10 in just 9 days at the end of November – have all been incorporated and registered in the months since Australian investment bank Macquarie is thought to have become the preferred bidder. The MacQuarrie is involved in fracking in the UK as the largest shareholder in the would-be shale gas explorer Hutton Energy and is also a major funder of I-Gas, a shale gas operator.
Senior officials at the Green Investment Bank UK head office in Edinburgh include some of the highest-paid civil servants in Britain, where director-level salaries of £250,000 a year are commonplace.
But this is only a fraction of what senior bank management, such as Chief Executive Shaun Kingsbury, could expect to pocket in the same job in the private-sector in London
According to Sepi Golzari-Munro, Head of the UK Programme at the E3G energy think-tank and a GIB expert who analysed the new documents, the UK government’s ‘special green share’ – designed to ensure the Green Investment Bank stays fit for purpose – would be rendered moot if there are no assets or investments to keep green.
Last week, the SNP Government in Scotland sought re-assurances from the British government on the mission and operational location of the Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh should it be privatised.
See also: UK Govt side-steps SNP-govt plea for Edinburgh’s Green Investment Bank jobs after privatisation
Recently, Lord Vince Cable, the former Liberal Minister for Trade and Industry in the last UK coalition government tweeted:
Companies House data shows a clutch of new corporations in the names of the Galloper, Rampion and Westernmost Rough wind power projects.
This new evidence suggests that the GIB, under Macquarie ownership, could be stripped of its four largest assets, totalling almost £1 billion:
- Galloper Offshore Wind Farm – £119 million
- Rampion Offshore Wind Farm – £306.5 million
- Westernmost Rough Offshore wind farm – £240.8 million
- GIB Offshore Wind Fund – £200 million (GIB share).
Along with those assets, each of which is valued at hundreds of millions of pounds, Macquarie may also be looking to sell the GIB’s financial services division, which holds three further offshore wind farms.
Financial experts told Greenpeace that a company with this structure would be ripe for a sell-off. A spokesman commented: “This rapid proliferation of companies could mean a number of things, but it’s worth noting that the move focuses on the GIB’s most valuable assets: its offshore windfarms.”
Doug Parr, Policy Director at Greenpeace UK, said: “At a time of massive political uncertainty over Britain’s future financial position after Brexit, it is foolish to be selling off the Green Investment Bank that could help deliver the proposed industrial strategy and drive investment into the growth sectors of the 21st century economy.
“Worse is that the takeover now seems to be potentially benefiting the socially useless side of banking, with asset stripping and offshoring of revenues at centre stage. It will provide income for the overseas owners, but the prospect of it driving useful investment into UK economy looks far from certain.”