9 December 2016
Today I read that National Grid is to sell a 61% controlling stake of its gas distribution business to a consortium including Qatar Investment Authority and China Investment Corporations (CIC) – which is the country’s sovereign wealth fund.
It’s one of the biggest deals in recent history, coming in at £3.6 billion and has come to light ahead of the government’s recently announced review of the rules that govern the sale of our country’s ‘critical infrastructure’. CIC already owns a stake in Thames Water and Heathrow Airport.
The distribution business serves more than 11 million homes across the UK and is a vital part of our country’s infrastructure.
This was once a wholly owned British infrastructure. It’s the backbone of our power system. Without it, there is no power.
The deal, which has been announced rather quietly and received little to no attention from politicians, raises a huge number of questions. Will a foreign company feed the need and urgency to develop and invest in its growth or will it be more concerned with short-term commercial results?
It will obviously look commercially! This is potentially damaging if the power distribution is not aligned to the growth of the UK.
It’s the veins of the British Isles. No commercial business, especially a foreign one, should have complete control over every single business in the UK. Everyone uses power. It could easily be said that whoever has the National Grid, controls Britain!
What do you think about the sale? Are you concerned?