Funding talks

Abrdn-backed Britishvolt to sell majority stake

Britishvolt is developing a huge plant near Blyth

Car battery maker Britishvolt is in talks with investors over a possible sale of a majority stake in order to give the troubled start-up a long-term future.

Britishvolt, which aims to build a megafactory in Northumberland to supply batteries for electric vehicles, came close to collapse last year.

In a statement issued today it said: “Britishvolt is in discussions with a consortium of investors concerning the potential majority sale of the company.

“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.”

There were no details on who was involved in the sale talks.

The government-backed firm was set up three years ago with tens of millions of pounds of investment including between £1.7bn and £2bn from Tritax, a property investment company majority-owned by the investment house and Edinburgh-based FTSE 100 firm abrdn.

The Swiss commodities company Glencore and the equipment rental company Ashtead have also given support.

However, Grant Shapps, the Business Secretary, refused to allow it to draw on £30 million of bridging finance from £100 million under the taxpayer-backed Automotive Transformation Fund, because key milestones were yet to be met

In October it revealed that short term funding had been secured – thought to be £3m from Glencore – to prevent it sliding into administration.

The project, near a deep water port at Blyth, aims to employ 3,000 workers and the 300 currently on the payroll agreed to a voluntary cut in pay in November to help reduce costs.

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