Fund 'insufficient'

Watt says SNIB needs ability to raise third party funds

Willie Watt

Willie Watt: ‘we want the right to borrow money’

Willie Watt, chairman of the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB), says it needs to have the ability to raise third-party capital in order to be fully effective in meeting its objectives.

Mr Watt said the bank, set up as an arms length institution from government last November, wants “to earn the right to borrow on our own balance sheet.”

He told a fringe COP26 meeting that the bank had agreed eight deals in its first year worth an estimated £160 million, just shy of its c.£200m a year budget.

He expressed concern, however, that its £2 billion allocation of public funds may prove not to be enough for it to make enough of an impression.

Its remit is supporting businesses that will further Scotland’s transition to a green economy.

Initial deals have included a £12.5m investment in Glasgow-based laser and quantum technology company M Squared Lasers and a £3.1m funding round with connectivity start-up R3-IoT.

He said: “The Scottish government has given us a promise of £2 billion over the first ten years of the bank’s life.

“It is insufficient to crack the missions. We need to be able to raise third-party capital and we want to earn the right to borrow on our own balance sheet.”

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