A new unit has been set up within the Treasury to represent the public sector on the boards of new PF2 projects and manage its future stake in public infrastructure including schools and hospitals.
As part of its new approach to public private partnerships announced in December, the government will act as a minority shareholder in PF2 projects. These equity investments will be managed a dedicated team located in Infrastructure UK (IUK). The unit’s staff will be made up of commercial and finance specialists, many of whom will come from the private sector.
Margaret Bonsall has been appointed to set up the PF2 Equity Unit and to head up the team who will manage the public sector shareholdings. As Head of PF2 Investments, she will evaluate prospective investments, sit on the board of PF2 project companies and regularly review the performance of PF2 equity holdings. She will be responsible to the Chief Executive of IUK who will oversee the activities of the unit.
The decision to invest public sector equity will be taken by an Investment Committee, including two independent members and senior Treasury officials. This committee will analyse bids to make sure they meet government criteria, which will be set out publically in the coming months.
Margaret Bonsall has worked in project finance and PFI since 1989. Recently she has worked with Network Rail on Crossrail and was the non-executive director of numerous Local Education Partnerships, representing the Department for Education and Partnerships UK as equity investors. She is a solicitor and was a partner of Linklaters.
The government will shortly be publishing a consultation on the PF2 shareholder documents which will set out further detail on public sector equity participation.