Britishvolt is one step closer to a takeover, after its administrator named Recharge Industries as the preferred bidder for the collapsed battery start-up.
The Australian firm, which is owned by New York-based Scale Facilitation Partners, has reached a deal to buy Britishvolt’s business and assets.
The administrator said: “EY is pleased to announce that the joint administrators have entered into an agreement with Scale Facilitation Partners and its indirectly wholly owned subsidiary Recharge Industries to be the preferred bidder in acquiring the majority of the business and assets of power by Britishvolt.”
Recharge founder 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.
“After a competitive and rigorous process, we’re confident our proposal will deliver a strong outcome for all involved.”
Recharge is building a facility in Melbourne, Australia to produce batteries for electric vehicles which will begin operating in 2024.
If his takeover bid is successful, Collard is expected to transfer Recharge’s lithium-ion battery technology being used at the Geelong plant to the UK plant to speed up its resurgence.
Any buyer of the site will have to construct a battery factory to within a certain time period, in line with pre-existing agreements.
Recharge fends off rival bids for Britishvolt
Today’s announcement follows an extensive bidding process after Britishvolt’s dropped into administration last month.
EY confirmed this included multiple offers from interested parties – but did not explain why it had chosen Recharge over other bidders.
Others in the running reportedly included Greybull, Dea Lab, and a separate bid from a small group of Britishvolt shareholders.
The administrator now hopes the acquisition will be wrapped up within the next seven days.
Britishvolt collapsed in January after running out of funds, laying off most of its 232 members of staff.
The business had high hopes of building a nearly £3.8bn battery plant in Cambois, outside Blyth in Northumberland.
The site would have been the centrepiece for the country’s EV ambitions – potentially kickstarting a new era for the UK’s flagging car industry while providing new opportunities for people living in the North East.
However, it simply never managed to secure enough funding for the project – and the government refused to provide an advance on its £100m grant, which was dependent on Britishvolt reaching construction milestones for the factory.
This led to its collapse into administration last month, with creditors rejecting any eleventh-hour funding deals.