Can Aussie firm Recharge Britishvolt’s UK ‘gigafactory’ dream?
Australian firm Recharge Industries has been selected as the preferred buyer to acquire beleaguered battery factory Britishvolt’s business and assets.
The Northumberland-based EV battery startup – which promised to produce enough batteries for over 300,00 electric vehicles – was put into administration last month after running out of money.
Completion of the acquisition is expected to happen within the next seven days according to Big Four firm EY – which was an adviser to Britishvolt before the venture collapsed, when it was then as administrator.
According to sources close to the ft.com, EY selected privately owned Recharge Industries – a division of New York-based portfolio company Scale Facilitation – on Friday as the preferred bidder for BV, having received four bids last Wednesday .
The publication added that the deal with the Aussie battery company was selected over offers from a group of current shareholders, the private equity group Greybull Capital, and the Saudi British Bank.
Last year the UK government offered Britishvolt a conditional support package worth £100m if the company raised private funding and began construction work. Britishvolt – which would have cost in the region of £3.8b to build – hit neither target and the money wasn’t paid out.
The start up blamed “difficult external economic headwinds including rampant inflation and rising interest rates” for failure to raise capital.
But some remained disappointed that the UK government didn’t feel the need to play a more strategic role in supporting such a project, given that an EV battery plant is seen as vital to the security and the future of UK car manufacturing.
However, Recharge – which is building a large-scale lithium-ion cell factory in its native Australia – suggested that it was still interested in going ahead with building a UK plant.
Recharge founder and CEO David Collard said: “We’re thrilled to be progressing with our proposed bid for Britishvolt and can’t wait to get started making a reality of our plans to build the UK’s first gigafactory.”
Subscribe to our Editor's weekly newsletter