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Investment fund launches legal challenge to UK Green Investment Bank sale
March 1, 2017 / 12:49 PM / 6 months ago

Investment fund launches legal challenge to UK Green Investment Bank sale

LONDON (Reuters) - Investment firm Sustainable Development Capital LLP (SDCL) has launched a legal challenge to the British government's choice of preferred bidder for a stake in its green energy bank, it said on Wednesday.

The Green Investment Bank (GIB) was created by the state as a commercial venture at the end of 2012 to back projects and spur private sector investment. It invested more than 2 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) in projects such as offshore wind farms and waste management.

The government decided to sell a majority stake in the GIB in 2015, saying it would give the bank greater freedom to borrow, removing state aid restrictions, and allow it to attract more capital.

SDCL, one of the bidders for the bank, said it had launched proceedings in the High Court for a judicial review of the government's decision to award "preferred bidder status" to another party in the privatization of the GIB.

A deal was expected to be reached in 2016 but the preferred bidder has yet to be publicly announced.

"SDCL understands that the preferred bidder's bid was not compliant with the criteria set out by the government," it said in a statement.

"The fact that no deal was completed within the targeted timetable attests to the fact that the preferred bid was neither deliverable within the timeframe nor acceptable," it added.

The government declined to comment.

Several lawmakers have opposed the sale of the bank, saying its green credentials could be compromised.

"SDCL has raised its concerns with the parties responsible for the process in the government since the final phase of the auction in September 2016," the firm said.

"In the absence of a constructive dialogue, we have no alternative but to seek redress through the judicial review process."

Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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