Barclays is one business which is attempting to reverse the trend towards Britain selling more companies than it buys. Yesterday it made a bid of £98m for a Swedish carbon trading company, Tricorona.
The bank offered eight kronor (70p) per share for the Stockholm-based company, a 40 per cent premium to Tricorona's closing price the previous day.
Tricorona specialises in sourcing, developing and trading offsets from greenhouse gas reduction projects in developing countries – a market that was created by the "clean development mechanism" established under the Kyoto protocol.
Barclays is already a major player in the global carbon market. It said yesterday that the acquisition would "position it as a leading global origination and trading house".
The deal will also be accretive to earnings within one year and will have no impact on the bank's tier one capital ratio. The board of Tricorona – which has offsets of 43.7 million tonnes to 2012 and expects to acquire a further 63.8 million between 2013 and 2020 – is unanimously recommending the Barclays offer to the company's shareholders.
The deal represents a vote of confidence in the carbon market by Barclays despite the uncertain future beyond the expiry of Kyoto in 2012. And it comes in the same week as the re-opening of United Nations talks on an extension to Kyoto.