UK GIB braced for 'Vampire Kangaroo'

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Richard Heap
January 13, 2017
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UK GIB braced for 'Vampire Kangaroo'

The ‘Vampire Kangaroo’ is looming.

That is the nickname that critics of Australian bank Macquarie have given it due to its relentless focus on profits and its reputation as an asset-stripper. Macquarie is now set to make an impact in wind by buying the UK Green Investment Bank for around £2bn. Well, its biggest impact since last month's £1.6bn Race Bank deal.

The UK Government started the process to sell the GIB ten months ago, on 3 March 2016. The deal is set to involve both the sale of existing shares owned by the Government, and the commitment of additional capital for the GIB by new investors. The Government is planning to announce its winning bidder as early as next week, and is looking to complete the sale process by the end of March.

The sale has come with controversy. Since October, when Macquarie’s status as preferred bidder was first reported, current and former UK MPs and charities have been vocal about their concerns over the fate of the GIB, warning that the new owner may not uphold the bank’s environmental mission. We wrote similar in March 2016.

And the din surrounding these concerns has grown this week.

The Sunday Times has reported that Macquarie is looking to sell GIB’s wind and biomass assets; while Greenpeace has reported that GIB has recently created 14 new companies, all with names of its major assets, including the Galloper, Rampion and Westermost Rough offshore wind farms. The charity claims this shows a programme of asset sales is coming, and that this is likely to be at prices unfavourable to UK taxpayers.

Macquarie has not specifically commented on these claims, though it has shouted about its environmental credentials. A spokeswoman said: “Macquarie – and its managed funds – is one of the world’s largest investors in renewable energy, having invested or arranged more than £8.5bn of investment into renewable energy projects since 2010”. It says that GIB’s mission is in safe hands.

This is a controversy that will run and run – but our first instinct is
to wonder whether a sell-off of GIB’s major offshore wind assets would really be a disaster. Hear us out.

After all, you could argue that GIB has already achieved its goal in offshore wind. In 2012, the bank was created to spur investments in renewables, and has since been a great supporter of offshore wind. Its offshore team, headed by Nick Gardiner, has invested £1.3bn in offshore wind, supporting eight projects totalling 2.9GW in the UK.

Its goal was to lend on commercial terms to projects that private sector investors were too nervous to touch. But, five years on, we see little nervousness in the private sector. Falling costs, improved technology and experienced developers are all good reasons for investors to back UK offshore wind.

The GIB has been a great backer of offshore wind and has helped the UK maintain its position as world leader. But this is 2017, not 2012. Times have moved on.

That said, there are two reasons we believe a break-up of GIB would be damaging.

First, the UK investment landscape is going through a period of uncertainty. Brexit is looming and may make UK infrastructure projects look like less attractive prospects for overseas investors. The GIB could be important if confidence takes a nosedive.

And second, GIB is not all about wind. It backs other emerging sectors too. The UK may now be a world leader in offshore wind thanks in part to the GIB’s support, but we would love to see the bank stick around to invest in new types of technology that the private sector might be too nervous to touch. That could be tidal, storage, grids, green uses for materials like graphene, and so on.

UK offshore wind can survive without the UK Green Investment Bank – but, if a break-up happens, we will lose out on innovation we are not yet aware of. And post-Brexit Britain will need all of the exportable innovations that it can get.

Now let's end with a fact about kangaroos. Like cows, they eat grass and chew it up before spitting it out, and then they finally eat it after chewing it again. Hopefully not an indicator of GIB’s fate.

The ‘Vampire Kangaroo’ is looming.

That is the nickname that critics of Australian bank Macquarie have given it due to its relentless focus on profits and its reputation as an asset-stripper. Macquarie is now set to make an impact in wind by buying the UK Green Investment Bank for around £2bn. Well, its biggest impact since last month's £1.6bn Race Bank deal.

The UK Government started the process to sell the GIB ten months ago, on 3 March 2016. The deal is set to involve both the sale of existing shares owned by the Government, and the commitment of additional capital for the GIB by new investors. The Government is planning to announce its winning bidder as early as next week, and is looking to complete the sale process by the end of March.

The sale has come with controversy. Since October, when Macquarie’s status as preferred bidder was first reported, current and former UK MPs and charities have been vocal about their concerns over the fate of the GIB, warning that the new owner may not uphold the bank’s environmental mission. We wrote similar in March 2016.

And the din surrounding these concerns has grown this week.

The Sunday Times has reported that Macquarie is looking to sell GIB’s wind and biomass assets; while Greenpeace has reported that GIB has recently created 14 new companies, all with names of its major assets, including the Galloper, Rampion and Westermost Rough offshore wind farms. The charity claims this shows a programme of asset sales is coming, and that this is likely to be at prices unfavourable to UK taxpayers.

Macquarie has not specifically commented on these claims, though it has shouted about its environmental credentials. A spokeswoman said: “Macquarie – and its managed funds – is one of the world’s largest investors in renewable energy, having invested or arranged more than £8.5bn of investment into renewable energy projects since 2010”. It says that GIB’s mission is in safe hands.

This is a controversy that will run and run – but our first instinct is
to wonder whether a sell-off of GIB’s major offshore wind assets would really be a disaster. Hear us out.

After all, you could argue that GIB has already achieved its goal in offshore wind. In 2012, the bank was created to spur investments in renewables, and has since been a great supporter of offshore wind. Its offshore team, headed by Nick Gardiner, has invested £1.3bn in offshore wind, supporting eight projects totalling 2.9GW in the UK.

Its goal was to lend on commercial terms to projects that private sector investors were too nervous to touch. But, five years on, we see little nervousness in the private sector. Falling costs, improved technology and experienced developers are all good reasons for investors to back UK offshore wind.

The GIB has been a great backer of offshore wind and has helped the UK maintain its position as world leader. But this is 2017, not 2012. Times have moved on.

That said, there are two reasons we believe a break-up of GIB would be damaging.

First, the UK investment landscape is going through a period of uncertainty. Brexit is looming and may make UK infrastructure projects look like less attractive prospects for overseas investors. The GIB could be important if confidence takes a nosedive.

And second, GIB is not all about wind. It backs other emerging sectors too. The UK may now be a world leader in offshore wind thanks in part to the GIB’s support, but we would love to see the bank stick around to invest in new types of technology that the private sector might be too nervous to touch. That could be tidal, storage, grids, green uses for materials like graphene, and so on.

UK offshore wind can survive without the UK Green Investment Bank – but, if a break-up happens, we will lose out on innovation we are not yet aware of. And post-Brexit Britain will need all of the exportable innovations that it can get.

Now let's end with a fact about kangaroos. Like cows, they eat grass and chew it up before spitting it out, and then they finally eat it after chewing it again. Hopefully not an indicator of GIB’s fate.

The ‘Vampire Kangaroo’ is looming.

That is the nickname that critics of Australian bank Macquarie have given it due to its relentless focus on profits and its reputation as an asset-stripper. Macquarie is now set to make an impact in wind by buying the UK Green Investment Bank for around £2bn. Well, its biggest impact since last month's £1.6bn Race Bank deal.

The UK Government started the process to sell the GIB ten months ago, on 3 March 2016. The deal is set to involve both the sale of existing shares owned by the Government, and the commitment of additional capital for the GIB by new investors. The Government is planning to announce its winning bidder as early as next week, and is looking to complete the sale process by the end of March.

The sale has come with controversy. Since October, when Macquarie’s status as preferred bidder was first reported, current and former UK MPs and charities have been vocal about their concerns over the fate of the GIB, warning that the new owner may not uphold the bank’s environmental mission. We wrote similar in March 2016.

And the din surrounding these concerns has grown this week.

The Sunday Times has reported that Macquarie is looking to sell GIB’s wind and biomass assets; while Greenpeace has reported that GIB has recently created 14 new companies, all with names of its major assets, including the Galloper, Rampion and Westermost Rough offshore wind farms. The charity claims this shows a programme of asset sales is coming, and that this is likely to be at prices unfavourable to UK taxpayers.

Macquarie has not specifically commented on these claims, though it has shouted about its environmental credentials. A spokeswoman said: “Macquarie – and its managed funds – is one of the world’s largest investors in renewable energy, having invested or arranged more than £8.5bn of investment into renewable energy projects since 2010”. It says that GIB’s mission is in safe hands.

This is a controversy that will run and run – but our first instinct is
to wonder whether a sell-off of GIB’s major offshore wind assets would really be a disaster. Hear us out.

After all, you could argue that GIB has already achieved its goal in offshore wind. In 2012, the bank was created to spur investments in renewables, and has since been a great supporter of offshore wind. Its offshore team, headed by Nick Gardiner, has invested £1.3bn in offshore wind, supporting eight projects totalling 2.9GW in the UK.

Its goal was to lend on commercial terms to projects that private sector investors were too nervous to touch. But, five years on, we see little nervousness in the private sector. Falling costs, improved technology and experienced developers are all good reasons for investors to back UK offshore wind.

The GIB has been a great backer of offshore wind and has helped the UK maintain its position as world leader. But this is 2017, not 2012. Times have moved on.

That said, there are two reasons we believe a break-up of GIB would be damaging.

First, the UK investment landscape is going through a period of uncertainty. Brexit is looming and may make UK infrastructure projects look like less attractive prospects for overseas investors. The GIB could be important if confidence takes a nosedive.

And second, GIB is not all about wind. It backs other emerging sectors too. The UK may now be a world leader in offshore wind thanks in part to the GIB’s support, but we would love to see the bank stick around to invest in new types of technology that the private sector might be too nervous to touch. That could be tidal, storage, grids, green uses for materials like graphene, and so on.

UK offshore wind can survive without the UK Green Investment Bank – but, if a break-up happens, we will lose out on innovation we are not yet aware of. And post-Brexit Britain will need all of the exportable innovations that it can get.

Now let's end with a fact about kangaroos. Like cows, they eat grass and chew it up before spitting it out, and then they finally eat it after chewing it again. Hopefully not an indicator of GIB’s fate.

The ‘Vampire Kangaroo’ is looming.

That is the nickname that critics of Australian bank Macquarie have given it due to its relentless focus on profits and its reputation as an asset-stripper. Macquarie is now set to make an impact in wind by buying the UK Green Investment Bank for around £2bn. Well, its biggest impact since last month's £1.6bn Race Bank deal.

The UK Government started the process to sell the GIB ten months ago, on 3 March 2016. The deal is set to involve both the sale of existing shares owned by the Government, and the commitment of additional capital for the GIB by new investors. The Government is planning to announce its winning bidder as early as next week, and is looking to complete the sale process by the end of March.

The sale has come with controversy. Since October, when Macquarie’s status as preferred bidder was first reported, current and former UK MPs and charities have been vocal about their concerns over the fate of the GIB, warning that the new owner may not uphold the bank’s environmental mission. We wrote similar in March 2016.

And the din surrounding these concerns has grown this week.

The Sunday Times has reported that Macquarie is looking to sell GIB’s wind and biomass assets; while Greenpeace has reported that GIB has recently created 14 new companies, all with names of its major assets, including the Galloper, Rampion and Westermost Rough offshore wind farms. The charity claims this shows a programme of asset sales is coming, and that this is likely to be at prices unfavourable to UK taxpayers.

Macquarie has not specifically commented on these claims, though it has shouted about its environmental credentials. A spokeswoman said: “Macquarie – and its managed funds – is one of the world’s largest investors in renewable energy, having invested or arranged more than £8.5bn of investment into renewable energy projects since 2010”. It says that GIB’s mission is in safe hands.

This is a controversy that will run and run – but our first instinct is
to wonder whether a sell-off of GIB’s major offshore wind assets would really be a disaster. Hear us out.

After all, you could argue that GIB has already achieved its goal in offshore wind. In 2012, the bank was created to spur investments in renewables, and has since been a great supporter of offshore wind. Its offshore team, headed by Nick Gardiner, has invested £1.3bn in offshore wind, supporting eight projects totalling 2.9GW in the UK.

Its goal was to lend on commercial terms to projects that private sector investors were too nervous to touch. But, five years on, we see little nervousness in the private sector. Falling costs, improved technology and experienced developers are all good reasons for investors to back UK offshore wind.

The GIB has been a great backer of offshore wind and has helped the UK maintain its position as world leader. But this is 2017, not 2012. Times have moved on.

That said, there are two reasons we believe a break-up of GIB would be damaging.

First, the UK investment landscape is going through a period of uncertainty. Brexit is looming and may make UK infrastructure projects look like less attractive prospects for overseas investors. The GIB could be important if confidence takes a nosedive.

And second, GIB is not all about wind. It backs other emerging sectors too. The UK may now be a world leader in offshore wind thanks in part to the GIB’s support, but we would love to see the bank stick around to invest in new types of technology that the private sector might be too nervous to touch. That could be tidal, storage, grids, green uses for materials like graphene, and so on.

UK offshore wind can survive without the UK Green Investment Bank – but, if a break-up happens, we will lose out on innovation we are not yet aware of. And post-Brexit Britain will need all of the exportable innovations that it can get.

Now let's end with a fact about kangaroos. Like cows, they eat grass and chew it up before spitting it out, and then they finally eat it after chewing it again. Hopefully not an indicator of GIB’s fate.

The ‘Vampire Kangaroo’ is looming.

That is the nickname that critics of Australian bank Macquarie have given it due to its relentless focus on profits and its reputation as an asset-stripper. Macquarie is now set to make an impact in wind by buying the UK Green Investment Bank for around £2bn. Well, its biggest impact since last month's £1.6bn Race Bank deal.

The UK Government started the process to sell the GIB ten months ago, on 3 March 2016. The deal is set to involve both the sale of existing shares owned by the Government, and the commitment of additional capital for the GIB by new investors. The Government is planning to announce its winning bidder as early as next week, and is looking to complete the sale process by the end of March.

The sale has come with controversy. Since October, when Macquarie’s status as preferred bidder was first reported, current and former UK MPs and charities have been vocal about their concerns over the fate of the GIB, warning that the new owner may not uphold the bank’s environmental mission. We wrote similar in March 2016.

And the din surrounding these concerns has grown this week.

The Sunday Times has reported that Macquarie is looking to sell GIB’s wind and biomass assets; while Greenpeace has reported that GIB has recently created 14 new companies, all with names of its major assets, including the Galloper, Rampion and Westermost Rough offshore wind farms. The charity claims this shows a programme of asset sales is coming, and that this is likely to be at prices unfavourable to UK taxpayers.

Macquarie has not specifically commented on these claims, though it has shouted about its environmental credentials. A spokeswoman said: “Macquarie – and its managed funds – is one of the world’s largest investors in renewable energy, having invested or arranged more than £8.5bn of investment into renewable energy projects since 2010”. It says that GIB’s mission is in safe hands.

This is a controversy that will run and run – but our first instinct is
to wonder whether a sell-off of GIB’s major offshore wind assets would really be a disaster. Hear us out.

After all, you could argue that GIB has already achieved its goal in offshore wind. In 2012, the bank was created to spur investments in renewables, and has since been a great supporter of offshore wind. Its offshore team, headed by Nick Gardiner, has invested £1.3bn in offshore wind, supporting eight projects totalling 2.9GW in the UK.

Its goal was to lend on commercial terms to projects that private sector investors were too nervous to touch. But, five years on, we see little nervousness in the private sector. Falling costs, improved technology and experienced developers are all good reasons for investors to back UK offshore wind.

The GIB has been a great backer of offshore wind and has helped the UK maintain its position as world leader. But this is 2017, not 2012. Times have moved on.

That said, there are two reasons we believe a break-up of GIB would be damaging.

First, the UK investment landscape is going through a period of uncertainty. Brexit is looming and may make UK infrastructure projects look like less attractive prospects for overseas investors. The GIB could be important if confidence takes a nosedive.

And second, GIB is not all about wind. It backs other emerging sectors too. The UK may now be a world leader in offshore wind thanks in part to the GIB’s support, but we would love to see the bank stick around to invest in new types of technology that the private sector might be too nervous to touch. That could be tidal, storage, grids, green uses for materials like graphene, and so on.

UK offshore wind can survive without the UK Green Investment Bank – but, if a break-up happens, we will lose out on innovation we are not yet aware of. And post-Brexit Britain will need all of the exportable innovations that it can get.

Now let's end with a fact about kangaroos. Like cows, they eat grass and chew it up before spitting it out, and then they finally eat it after chewing it again. Hopefully not an indicator of GIB’s fate.

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Not a member yet?

Become a member of the 6,500-strong A Word About Wind community today, and gain access to our premium content, exclusive lead generation and investment opportunities.