U.K. Said Set to Agree on GIB Sale to Macquarie in January

  • Completion of transaction seen by government’s March deadline
  • Lawmakers raise concerns about future of bank’s green mission

The British government is set to agree to a deal to sell U.K. Green Investment Bank Plc to Macquarie Group Ltd. in early January, according to a person familiar with the process.

The sale of the Edinburgh-based bank is on track to be completed before the end of March, in line with the deadline the government set when it announced the privatization this year, the person said, asking not to be identified because discussions are confidential. Negotiations with the Australian bank, which bid to buy all of GIB, are continuing, according to the person.

Spokesmen for GIB and Macquarie and the government declined to comment. The investment bank could be valued at as much as 4.2 billion pounds ($5.2 billion), including investments that the new owners will be expected to make over the next three years, Shaun Kingsbury, the bank’s chief executive, has said.

Lawmakers have expressed concerns that the sale of GIB, which was set up in 2012 to spur investments in renewable energy, could cause the bank to lose its environmental mission. Politicians have taken to social media to warn that a new owner may not uphold the bank’s environmental mission despite the appointment of five special shareholders with veto power over deals.

Gregory Barker, the former climate change minister who helped create the bank and a member of the House of Lords, said via Twitter on Friday that he’s “increasingly alarmed” the bank will be broken up after it’s sold.

The sale could end the bank’s “clean tech focus,” Barry Gardiner, the member of Parliament who speaks on climate for the opposition Labour Party, said in a posting on Twitter. Caroline Lucas, joint leader of the Green Party, tweeted that “We need a publicly owned @greeninvbank to deliver U.K.’s industrial strategy.”

A spokesman for the government pointed to the golden share when asked about the comments and said, “We have set out our position on the special share and don’t consider there is anything further to add.”

— With assistance by Manuel Baigorri

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