Bid made for bankrupt Britishvolt – report

Australian start-up Recharge Industries has made a non-binding offer to ailing British battery company Britishvolt that could revive plans to build a large facility in northern England. The guard reported.

The newspaper said the bid was made in the UK late Tuesday, shortly after a liquidity crisis at Britishvolt sent the company into bankruptcy. The collapse has severely impacted the country’s attempts to modernize its car industry and deliver the next generation of British-built electric vehicles.

Hundreds of jobs were laid off as money ran out and plans to build a £3.8 billion (AU$6.7 billion) “gigafactory” near Blyth in Northumberland remained in tatters.

Recharge Industries’ offering was first reported by the Australian Financial Report, The guard said.

A successful bid would give Recharge, an Australian company owned by New York-based investment firm Scale Facilitation, instant scale in an emerging industry. There are also plans to start building a battery factory in Geelong, the former Ford car manufacturing hub southwest of Melbourne.

The proposed lithium-ion battery factory would not use Chinese or Russian materials, a decision that capitalizes on Australia’s deep mineral deposits and limits supply chain risks, the reports said.

Geelong-born Scale Facilitation founder and chief executive David Collard said a deal with Britishvolt makes strategic sense.

“Empowering our friends in the UK, especially when most others kick them when they’re down, is in our interest and definitely in the spirit of Aukus,” Collard said, referring to the trilateral security pact.

Britishvolt management had held talks with a number of potential investors, including existing investors and an obscure group linked to Indonesia. The guard had previously announced that UK-based private equity investor DeaLab Group and related metals company Barracuda Group were in talks for a £160m bailout deal.

EY had previously said the UK company did not have sufficient equity for its research and development facilities, prompting the appointment of administrators.

In the next phase of a sales process, approved bidders would typically access the data room, which stores detailed information about the company’s operations.

Recharge Industries chief executive Rob Fitzpatrick said the operation would give the Australian company better access to Europe should the bid go ahead.

“Demand for lithium-ion battery storage continues to skyrocket,” Fitzpatrick reportedly said.


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