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Green Investment Bank sale given go ahead by high court

Green Investment Bank sale given go ahead by high court

(11 April 2017 – United Kingdom) The British High Court has backed the government’s decision to sell its Green Investment Bank to a consortium led by Macquarie Group.

The decision followed a request from rival bidder to review decisions about the sale made by ministers, which was rejected by the court.

Sustainable Development Capital LLP (SDCL), had requested a judicial review from the High Court of the planned sale of the bank after it failed to win preferred bidder status.

Towards the end of 2016, the British government selected a group led by Australian bank Macquarie as the preferred bidder, however SDCL said process was not compliant with criteria set out to guide ministers in their decision.

“Even if the claim had been brought in time, permission would have been refused as the grounds of claim do not disclose any arguable error on the part of the defendants,” Justice Lewis from the High Court in London wrote in the ruling.

In a statement, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We welcome today’s judgment from the High Court.”

“As we have said, any government decision on the sale of the Green Investment Bank will be driven by what best achieves our objectives, including continued investment in the green economy and a sale which is in the best interests of the taxpayer.”

The government considered the bid by the Macquarie consortium, which also includes Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd. “financially preferable” over the SDCL-led bid for several reasons, according to the judgment.

SDCL’s position was deemed to be “less secure” due to a 25 percent reduction in ownership, following the withdrawal of one of the member in August. Further, as SDCL included a public sector body, the bank could still risk being classified as government owned following the divestment, which was opposed to the privatisation plan, the judgment found.

The government and Macquarie “are now in a position to sign a binding, contractual agreement providing for the sale of the bank,” the judgment said.

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