Banks admit breaking cartel laws
London: A bipartisan coalition of former and serving British MPs has raised alarm about Macquarie Bank buying up the UK’s Green Investment Bank, with the former business secretary saying the Australian investment bank is the “worst kind of company” to be acquiring the £2 billion ($3.4 billion) fund.
MPs expressed fears that Macquarie Bank, known in Australia as the “millionaires factory”, would acquire the Green Investment Bank (GIB) only to strip it of its most profitable parts, abandoning its environmental purpose. Initially Parliamentarians had feared that if owned privately the Green Bank would expand beyond its remit. But sources said that with Macquarie Bank as the likely owner, the fear is now that the Green Bank will be chopped up and sold off according to its financing arrangements, a practice known as “asset stripping” which would trigger a flight of staff and destroy the Bank’s ability to carry out it’s green mission.
The British government had been expected to announce by the end of 2016 who would purchase the GIB, which the tory government, under the leadership of the then Prime Minister David Cameron announced would be privatised in June 2015. The formal sell-off process began in March and Australia’s Macquarie Bank is poised to be announced as the winning bidder. Bloomberg on Wednesday, citing a source familiar with the process, reported the UK government is set to agree to a deal to sell the GIB to Macquarie Group in early January .
But that prospect has alarmed some MPs who say Macquarie Bank’s past behaviour disqualified it to look after the green bank.
The former Tory minister for energy and climate change Gregory Barker who helped create the Bank has called for an urgent halt to the privatisation process.
“Am increasingly alarmed that sale of #GIB will now see it broken up so much it threatens its future as enduring institution,” he wrote on Twitter.