UK govt begins process to sell GIB stake

Offshore wind farm near Wales. Author: alh1. License: Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

June 25 (SeeNews) - The UK government wants to privatise the Green Investment Bank (GIB) and, for this reason, will engage with potential investors to explore the scope for a future stake sale, it was announced on Thursday.

By moving into the private sector, GIB will be able to raise additional capital to supplement government funding. Moreover, it will gain more freedom to invest in various green sectors, according to a government statement.

"The bank will still be green, still be profitable, still be a market-leader in financing environmentally sound infrastructure. But free from limitations on where it can borrow money and EU regulations on state aid, the bank will be able to access a much greater volume of capital,” says UK business secretary Sajid Javid.

The size of the stake the UK government is willing to sell was not announced. However, government figures have told the Financial Times that the business secretary seeks to sell a 70% interest, depending on market appetite. Divesting the entire fund is much less likely, the report says.

The bank has hired advisers to support it on its plan, but is still in the process’ early stages and does not expect to announce anything in the short term, said GIB chief executive Shaun Kingsbury.

GIB was set up in 2012 to invest in UK green infrastructure. Since then, the bank has spent some GBP 2 billion (USD 3.14bn/EUR 2.8bn) on 50 UK renewable energy projects valued at more than GBP 8 billion in total, including offshore wind and anaerobic digestion projects.

During fiscal 2014/15, GIB has invested GBP 723 million of its own capital to projects with a combined value of GBP 2.5 billion. This was also the financial year in which the bank managed to become profitable, with a modest full-year profit of about GBP 100,000.

(GBP 1.0 = USD 1.570/EUR 1.402)

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