A £600 million government privatisation plan has been abandoned

LONDON — A plan to sell around £600 million ($US747.5 million) worth of government business loans to investors has been scrapped, according to a report from The Times on Wednesday morning.

The Times’ financial editor Patrick Hosking writes that the British Business Bank — a state-owned lender created to help give credit to SMEs in the UK — has U-turned on plans to package £600 million of government business loans into an investment vessel that was set to be floated on the London Stock Exchange.

Those plans are now thought to have been abandoned, although no reason has been given publicly so far.

The Times suggests that part of the reason for the abandonment may be related to a legal challenge brought against a similar privatisation plan for the Green Investment Bank — which was created to help invest in green initiatives and projects.

Australian bank Macquarie had been set to buy the bank for as much as £2 billion, but its sale faces a judicial review, something that has reportedly “rattled” ministers.

A source with knowledge of the matter told the Times: “It’s a bit baffling why stumps were pulled at the last moment. Everyone was all signed up for it.”

The planned float had been expected to happen at some point in the second quarter, with John Scott, the boss of Britain’s biggest investment trust, Scottish Mortgage lined up as chairman. JP Morgan, Deloitte, and law firm Norton Rose were believed to be advising on the deal. It was expected to be called “The British Income and Lending Trust.”

You can read The Times’ full report here.

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