Recharge Industries, an Australian startup, made a non-binding offer to Britishvolt, the UK’s collapsed battery company. This could help revive plans for a large northern England plant.
The UK bid was submitted late Tuesday night, just after Britishvolt’s cash crunch forced it into administration. This collapse has seriously hampered the country’s efforts to modernize its automotive industry and produce the next generation of electric vehicles in the UK.
As the cash ran out, hundreds of jobs were lost and plans to build a £3.8bn ($A$6.7bn), “gigafactory”, near Blyth, Northumberland, were abandoned.
Australian Financial Review first reported the Recharge Industries bid.
Recharge, an Australian company, would be able to offer immediate scale to a rapidly growing industry to Scale Facilitation in New York if it is successful. The company also plans to build a battery factory at Geelong (an ex-car manufacturing center south-west from Melbourne).
The proposed lithium-ion plant will not use Russian or Chinese materials. This decision leverages Australia’s deep minerals and reduces supply chain risk.
David Collard (Geelong-born founder of Scale Facilitation) said that a Britishvolt deal was strategic.
Collard stated that strengthening our friendships in the UK is in our best interest, particularly when other countries are trying to kick them when they’re down. He was referring to the trilateral security agreement.
Britishvolt stated earlier this month that it was in negotiations for a majority sale, but the company quickly fell into administration. EY is now evaluating its assets. The company’s intellectual property portfolio includes numerous patents, licences, and module designs.
Management was in discussions with several potential investors, including existing investors as well as an unknown Indonesian-linked group. The Guardian revealed previously that DeaLab Group (a UK-based private equity investor) and Barracuda Group (an associated metals business), were in discussions over a £160m rescue agreement.
EY previously stated that the UK company didn’t have enough equity to support its research and development of facilities. This led to the appointment administrators.
Approved bidders would then access the data room to view detailed information about the company’s operations. This is the next stage in a sale process.
Britishvolt hoped to build the factory in stages to capitalize on rising EV demand before the UK’s 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars. When fully operational, the plant would have employed approximately 3,000 people and could produce 30 gigawatt hours (GWh), of batteries per year.
As countries across the globe try to modernize and improve their industrial processes in order to benefit from new technology, the UK government has promised £100m support.
Rob Fitzpatrick (chief executive at Recharge Industries) stated that the operation would give the Australian company greater access to Europe if the offer is accepted.
Fitzpatrick stated that “demand for lithium-ion batteries storage is continuing to rise through the roof.”