Rival in Green Investment Bank bid launches legal challenge

Even as the UK government pushes ahead with the controversial sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to its preferred bidder, Australian investment bank Macquarie, Sustainable Development Capital (SDCL), a rival bidder for the bank said it would launch a legal challenge to the government's decision.

The London-based investment fund is seeking a judicial review on the grounds that it believed that the bidding process had not conformed to criteria the government had laid out in March 2016.

Macquarie was first selected as the government's preferred bidder in October 2016, with the sale announcement expected to follow in January.

But strong political opposition had stymied the £2-billion deal.

''The fact that no deal was completed within the targeted timetable attests to the fact that the preferred bid was neither deliverable within the time frame nor acceptable,'' said SDCL, which is leading a consortium vying to buy the bank.

''The depth of government ineptitude on the Green Investment Bank sell-off is becoming clearer by the day. Therefore news of a judicial review comes as no surprise," The Guardian reported quoting Green party's co-leader Caroline Lucas. With the deal now on a knife's edge, and Treasury hawks looking to make quick profit, let's hope this legal challenge forces ministers to think again.''

The GIB set up in 2012 aimed to encourage investment in clean energy in the UK. The government announced it would be privatise and a process was undertaken in 2016 to solicit bids, but could not be completed by the end of the last year as per the original timetable.

The GIB had so far been able to invest nearly £3 billion into a diverse range of UK projects, but it was in need of more capital. In view of the huge investment needed bidders are being asked to put in £1.8 billion.