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Green Investment Bank sell-off completes as Macquarie sets sights on projects overseas

The government has today completed its sale of the Green Investment Bank, freeing new owner Macquarie to invest in green infrastructure projects overseas.

And Macquarie is to rename the bank as the Green Investment Group (GIG), enabling it to target infrastructure investments outside of the UK.

The sale price - £2.3 billion – is made up of £1.75 billion worth of sale proceeds and more than £500 million of outstanding commitments which will be met by Macquarie. The sale realises a £186 million profit for the taxpayer.

GIG is set to remain in Edinburgh, as announced in April when the government’s sale was green-lit following months of legal challenges.

The government also moved to justify the transaction by arguing that the bank would now be “free from the constraints of public sector ownership”.

“We led the world in setting up the Green Investment Bank and it is now being copied by others. Now that it’s in the private sector, it will be able to operate on an international level to tackle the global challenge of climate change. It is also perfectly placed to help us finance green initiatives for our Clean Growth Plan and realise the commitments set out in the Paris Agreement,” climate change minister Claire Perry said.

The government has too moved to issue further reassurances over the ‘green special share’ that will force the new entity to continue its green investment criteria.

The share will be held by Green Purposes Company Limited, which now comes into force, with five independent trustees retaining the right to approve or reject any proposed amendments to GIG’s green purpose.

In November last year the government nominated Lord Teverson, ex-Scottish Environment Protection Agency chief James Curran, former DECC civil servant Trevor Hutchings, founding Aldersgate Group director Peter Young and Tushita Ranchan, the former managing director of renewables giant Masdar.