Thurso firm floats
Electric car boost sees AMTE power up for gigafactory
AMTE is working with firms such as Jaguar Land Rover
A Scottish battery manufacturer working alongside car manufacturers such as Cosworth and Jaguar Land Rover on the latest electric technology hopes its flotation on the stock market next month will help support its plans for a gigafactory.
AMTE Power was set up in Thurso in 2013 by a group of former defence technologists at QinetiQ and now has the second largest battery cell manufacturing capacity in the UK.
It is one of only five UK commercial battery cell manufacturers, the biggest serving Nissan’s car manufacturing plant in Sunderland.
British car makers are already in talks with new start-up Britishvolt to source EV batteries from its UK gigafactory, which is planned to open in 2023.
Britishvolt said confidence from the industry in its plans has grown following its commitment to a site in Blyth, Northumberland, after rejecting a site in the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales. Blyth is judged to have better connections to renewable power sources such as wind farms in the North Sea and an interconnector to Norway’s hydroelectric power.
Now AMTE chief executive Kevin Brundish says his company is in talks with government about a gigafactory.
“To help develop and better understand the requirements for our products we have been working collaboratively with nine automotive companies including Jaguar Land Rover, Cosworth and Williams,” he said.
“We have also been working with the UK government on our plans for building a British gigafactory which is part of the company’s medium-term outlook.”
However, he said the flotation, announced on Monday, is about funding the final development and production of the company’s three advanced battery cells where it sees “significant commercial opportunities.”
Formerly called AGM Batteries ATME can trace its roots to a venture between AEA Technology and two Japanese groups, which established a lithium-ion battery plant in Thurso in the late 1990s.
AEA Technology was spun off from the Atomic Energy Authority. This operated the nearby Dounreay nuclear reactor, which was closed in 1994.
Since being established it has raised £9.1m of equity finance, AMTE has been directly awarded approximately £5.8m of public sector grants and has generated commercial income to date of about £2.5m.
It is hoping to raise £7 million when it is admitted to the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) next month. It will become the second Scottish company to float in the past six months following Calnex Solution’s debut last September.
Energy market research specialist BloombergNEF estimated the global lithium-ion cells market, which AMTE is targeting, is expected to grow in value by 15% annually over the next 10 years to $110 billion (£80bn).
In addition to its Thurso facility, the firm has entered into a framework agreement governing access to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre cell manufacturing facility and, in 2022, intends to commit to building a new UK manufacturing facility with a capacity of approximately 2GWh (gigawatt hours) per annum.
In a statement to the LSE, AMTE Power said: “From the increased market uptake of electric vehicles and personal devices, to growing environmental concerns and increasing regulation and political pressure to shift away from the use of fossil fuels, as exemplified by the UK government’s plan for a “green industrial revolution”, there has been a rapid rise in global demand for lithium-ion and lithium-ion derivative battery cells.
“Traditionally, the dominant market for lithium-ion batteries was consumer electronics, however over recent years, the automotive sector has become increasingly responsible for the substantial increase in demand, as electrification of vehicles has become a legislative requirement in many major nations, particularly in Europe.”
The firm also has products directed towards the oil and gas and energy storage markets.
Among its directors is Liberal Democrat peer Lord Thurso, who joined the board at the beginning of June.