is close to acquiring the assets of the insolvent battery start-up Britishvolt. The auditing firm EY, which is in charge of the insolvency administration, expects to complete the deal is expected to be completed within the next seven days.
Citing a publication by EY, several media outlets report that Australian company Recharge Industries made the best offer among several bidders and has therefore been selected as the buyer. The deal, which appears to have already been finalized, comes just three weeks after Britishvolt announced its bankruptcy. The company had wanted to set up a battery cell factory in Blyth in the northern English county of Northumberland.
Recharge Industries is an Australian battery start-up owned by the US investor group Scale Facilitation. The company is reportedly planning its own battery cell factory in Australia with an annual capacity of up to 30 GWh. The acquisition of Britishvolt’s assets would include the factory site the latter has already acquired.
“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 “, Recharge founder David Collard is quoted saying in the EY statement. The statement suggests that Recharge plans to implement Britishvolt’s planned cell factory at Blyth in the northern English county of Northumberland once the acquisition is completed. Planning permission has already been granted for the site there.
According to the Financial Times, private equity group Greybull Capital and Saudi-based British Bank had also made a bid for the insolvent start-up.
While little is known about the details of how Recharge will continue with the plans, the BBC quotes the company conceding they had paid a premium over the other bidders but said that was indicative of their confidence in a project that would bring together Australian minerals, US battery know-how and a promising UK site.
The gigafactory potentially going ahead could indeed be a lifeline for the UK industry. Apart from Britishvolt and now likely Recharge Industries, only the Chinese company Envision AESC is looking to set up call manufacturing capacity in Britain. Envision will construct a large battery factory next to the Nissan plant in Sunderland to supply battery cells to Nissan but also to other carmakers – such as Jaguar Land Rover. Jaguar Land Rover’s owner, the Indian Tata Group, recently announced that it was considering building a European battery factory, which would make sense in view of the JLR plants, especially in England.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey, UK.
businessgreen.com, bbc.com , reuters.com