Australia’s Macquarie Group has agreed to acquire the UK’s Green Investment Bank from the UK Government for £2.3 billion, and has committed to the Bank’s newly established target of driving £3 billion in new green energy investments.
The sale of the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) to Macquarie has been a long time in coming and was delayed due to a court case which was only thrown out earlier this month. The sale will actually be made to a Macquarie-led consortium made up of Macquarie Group Limited (Macquarie), Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5 (MEIF5) and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which will acquire the GIB from Her Majesty’s Government for £2.3 billion. Not only will Macquarie oversee more than £4 billion worth of green infrastructure assets and projects, but under Macquarie the Green Investment Bank will establish three new investment vehicles — an offshore wind investment vehicle, a low carbon leading platform, and a green infrastructure investment platform.
The sale of a Government property designed to drive investment in green technology has been of significant concern to many over the last year or so, but it appears Macquarie is moving forward in the right direction. Macquarie has committed to back the Green Investment Bank’s newly established target of helping to drive £3 billion of new investment in green energy projects over the next three years. Further, the Green Investment Bank will now become Macquarie’s platform for principal investments in green infrastructure projects across the UK and Europe. This will not be new ground for the two, which together have already led a combined £15 billion of investment in the UK low carbon economy over the past five years.
The Green Investment Bank has already backed 99 green infrastructure projects and seven funds, and directly committed £3.4 billion into transactions worth £12 billion since it was founded in 2012. Just this year, the Green Investment Bank Offshore Wind Fund surpassed its £1 billion target with its sixth UK asset acquisition since it was announced back in June of 2014.
“It is a privilege to be selected by [Her Majesty’s (HM)] Government to acquire the Green Investment Bank,” said Daniel Wong, Head of Macquarie Capital, Europe. “The Green Investment Bank is a pioneering business, with outstanding people, expertise, credentials, brand and networks. By combining the Green Investment Bank with the largest infrastructure investor in the world, we will create a market leading platform dedicated to investment in the low carbon economy in the UK and beyond. We understand the responsibilities that come with this ownership, and we are fully committed to maintaining its green purpose as we grow the business.”
In response to the sale, the Lord Smith of Kelvin, the independent chair of the GIB, also published a statement backing the privatization of the GIB and its sale to Macquarie. “The GIB Board supported the decision to privatise GIB as it believed that attracting new investors was the best available route to securing the long-term future of the business and its growing green impact,” he said.
“The Green Investment Bank has played a key role in securing investment for renewable energy, particularly in offshore wind where we needed to bring in significant levels of capital in a short space of time,” said Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, in response to the move. “We welcome Macquarie’s commitment to build upon the Bank’s achievements to date and to maintain its focus on the huge opportunities for further investment in the UK’s low-carbon energy infrastructure.”
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