UK Infrastructure Bank has £5bn pipeline as investments kick off

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
UK Infrastructure Bank  CEO John Flint of HSBC attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
The UK Infrastructure Bank is headed up by former HSBC chief executive John Flint. Photo: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

The UK Infrastructure Bank has 44 potential deals in the pipeline worth £5bn ($6bn), according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The state-owned bank, which has been allocated £22bn of public funds, will pump cash through equity investments, loans, and guarantees to support infrastructure projects.

The NAO report said the bank has already started handing out investment despite some of its functions not yet going live.

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The bank was launched last June by the government as an independent organisation with the aim of investing taxpayer money alongside private finance into infrastructure projects. It is focused on clean energy and “levelling up” local economies, specifically companies and initiatives that have trouble securing private financing.

By the end of last month, the bank had entered into five deals whereby it handed £311.5m to firms through loan investments.

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, said: “There is more work to do before it is fully operational."

“The UK Infrastructure Bank was set up quickly, and there is more work to do before it is fully operational and is able to support the government’s aims in achieving net zero and supporting local economic growth," he said.

“It should continue to improve how it assesses investment needs and evaluates its impact, so that it can ensure it is targeting investment where it is most needed and demonstrate it is using public money in the most effective and efficient way.”

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The bank has sought to proceed with deals at a pace “while completing the development of its internal controls and processes, including research skills”, according to the NAO report.

The Treasury set up the bank in part due to the loss of the European Investment Bank infrastructure funding following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. It is headed up by former HSBC chief executive John Flint.

The bank has a target of an annual return of between 2.5% and 4% on its equity investments by 2025-26.

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