Britishvolt: Greybull ramps up bidding frenzy for collapsed battery start-up
A new potential eleventh hour bidder has emerged for Britishvolt. as suitors circle the troubled battery start-up ahead of today’s deadline.
Executives from private investment firm Greybull Capital met with Britishvolt’s management on Monday to discuss proposals, according to The Financial Times.
It is now considering whether to submit a final bid for the once-touted company.
Britishvolt dropped into administration last month after the venture ran out of cash, and potential rescue deals were overruled by creditors.
This was a dramatic fall from grace for Britishvolt, which once aspired to revive the UK’s motor industry and produce hundreds of thousands of lithium ion batteries per year at the country’s largest factory in North East England.
Britishvolt is now the subject of a bidding war, with other potential buyers including Australian battery group Recharge Industries, Indonesia-linked fund Dea Lab, and a separate bid from a small group of Britishvolt shareholders.
Orral Nadjari, Britishvolt’s founder who was removed as chief executive last summer, is also rumoured to be preparing a bid for the business.
Administrators at EY have asked bidders to submit firm offers by 5pm on Wednesday, and are reportedly pushing to close the deal by the end of the week.
They are aiming to sell the business as a whole rather than split it – in order to speed up the process.
Greybull: Controversial choice for Britishvolt
Greybull would be a controversial takeover bidder for Britishvolt, as it is most closely associated with the collapses of airline Monarch and British Steel.
The group took over one of the UK’s last two steelworks in 2016 for £1 – securing a deal with India’s Tata that rescued more than 4,000 jobs and kept the company’s vast Scunthorpe site open.
However, British Steel went into insolvency just three years later, after talks with the government over a £30m state bailout failed.
Meanwhile, when Monarch ceased trading overnight in 2017 under Greybull’s ownership, the government had to arrange the return of about 100,000 stranded travellers — the largest British repatriation since World War Two.
Bidders for the company are divided between wanting the group’s battery technology, which requires more funding to commercialise, and its factory location – a 93-hectare site at Blyth in Northumberland.
Any buyer of the site in Blyth, Northumberland will have to construct a battery factory to within a certain time period, in line with pre-existing agreements.
If EY fails to secure a buyer for the whole business within the next few days, then the land will be sold separately.
This would be overseen in a new process by Begbies Traynor the receiver for Britishvolt’s secured creditor.
EY and Greybull have both been approached for comment.