A consortium of investors are in talks to buy a majority stake in Britishvolt, potentially offering the troubled battery start-up a much-needed lifeline.
The company has been scrambling to secure fresh funds for months and only just avoided administration last year, after raising several million pounds from mining group Glencore and slapping staff with temporary wage cuts.
This has tided the company over the new year, but its future prospects depend on securing long-term funding.
In a statement, Britishvolt revealed it was “in discussions with a consortium of investors concerning the potential majority sale of the company”.
A spokesperson explained: “The discussions aim to secure legally binding terms that would provide Britishvolt with the long-term sustainability and funding necessary to enable it to pursue its current plans to build a strong and viable battery cell R&D and manufacturing business in the UK.”
The much-vaunted battery specialist’s travails in recent months reflect a sharp downturn in the company’s reputation.
In 2021, the company managed to secure a funding promise of £100m from the government – contingent on beginning construction work on its Blyth, Northumberland.
So far, it has failed unlock the funding – with the £3.8bn battery gigafactory in North-East England hampered by delays and construction still in its infancy.
City A.M. understands it requested £30m in advanced funding last November from the government when it first fell into financial difficulties.
However, this was rejected by Downing Street which argued it was not far enough along on the project.
When approached for comment, the Government confirmed it does not comment on “speculation or the commercial affairs of private companies.”
A BEIS spokesperson said: “We are determined to ensure the UK remains one of the best locations in the world for automotive manufacturing as we transition to electric vehicles, while ensuring taxpayer money is used responsibly and provides best-value.