UK battery manufacturer Britishvolt on verge of collapse

Government backed plans for gigafactory with pledges to invest more than £100m

Britishvolt has been in emergency fundraising talks in recent weeks. PA
Powered by automated translation

UK battery start-up Britishvolt is preparing to potentially fall into administration, risking almost 300 jobs.

The company has been developing a £3.8 billion gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland, which it had hoped would employ up to 3,000 workers.

However, the group has been in emergency fundraising talks in recent weeks.

The UK government backed the plans for the gigafactory in January and said it would support Britishvolt with undisclosed funding, understood to be about £100 million. However, the firm has not yet received this funding.

The Financial Times has reported that the company could slide into insolvency soon.

It is understood that Britishvolt has lined up advisers from EY to oversee the potential administration process.

The company had received tens of millions of pounds of financial backing from FTSE 100 metals firm Glencore, which saw its shares dip on Monday morning.

The company has faced uncertainty in recent months, with co-founder Orral Nadjari leaving the firm in July.

Over recent months, the company has held urgent talks to access more funding to pump into its development until it can start production and deliver its own revenue.

“We are aware of market speculation,” a spokesman for Britishvolt said.

“We are actively working on several potential scenarios that offer the required stability.

“We have no further comment at this time.”

Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “This disastrous news is a further reminder that the economic crisis made in Downing Street is costing jobs and investment.

“It is a sight that has become all too familiar — businesses going under, jobs being lost and investment in the industries of the future going abroad rather than the UK.

“The blame here lies with a Conservative government that has run Britain’s economy down over 12 years, failed to back growing industries as other countries have and has completely failed to grow our economy.”

The firm had teamed up with Prologis in May to also create a £200m car battery plant in the West Midlands.

The facility is due to complement its Gigaplant at Blyth and enable it to produce more batteries.

The Blyth Gigaplant, which is due to be operational by the end of 2023, will eventually produce cells for more than 300,000 electric vehicles a year, Britishvolt said.

Updated: October 31, 2022, 4:54 PM