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Osborne 'to sell Green Investment Bank stake'

The Government is set to sell a share of the Green Investment Bank (GIB), it is claimed.

Sky News says that advisers from Bank of America Merrill Lynch have been drawing up plans with Whitehall to sell a stake in the GIB.

Insiders told Sky that details of the plan could be included in chancellor George Osborne’s emergency budget on 8 July.

The move is designed to attract private shareholders to GIB, although the Government is expected to retain a long-term stake, Sky reported. It said UK-based pension and overseas sovereign wealth funds would be among interested investors.

Business secretary Sajid Javid will speak at the launch of GIB’s annual report on Thursday, alongside the bank’s chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin and chief executive Shaun Kingsbury, but it is unclear whether Javid will address the share sale proposals.

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said: “Last summer BIS and GIB appointed advisers to explore all options available for bringing in private capital.

“We have said on numerous occasions that we would consider options for bringing in private capital to enable GIB to grow and have an even bigger impact.”

GIB declined to comment. Prime minister David Cameron visited its Edinburgh headquarters shortly after the election (above) and said: “It is leading the world in finding innovative solutions to make sure that the UK is at the forefront of the next generation of energy infrastructure.”

Launched with £3.8bn of public funding, the GIB has so far committed just over £2bn to 50 projects, supplemented by £6bn of private capital.

The bank moved into profit in the second half of its 2014-15 financial year, and is expected to report a modest surplus for the full year at this week’s stakeholder event.

In February, the GIB launched the Recycling and Waste fund, managed by Foresight Group, which aimed to raise at least £50m from the private sector for smaller projects.

The bank was set up in November 2012 to accelerate the UK’s transition to a greener economy and step in when traditional investors were wary of backing certain schemes.

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