Battery plant blow

Troubled Britishvolt collapses into administration

BritishVolt
Britishvolt had planned a giant factory

Britishvolt, the proposed manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries backed by Edinburgh asset manager Abrdn, has collapsed into administration.

Almost all 300 employees have been made redundant and the future of a new green industry has been thrown into doubt.

The company had planned to build a so-called ‘gigafactory’ on the site of a former power station near Blyth, Northumberland.

But the board pulled the plug on the £3.8bn project and called in EY as administrators after the latest bid for further financial support fell through.

The collapse of the project has put a question mark over the entire electric vehicle manufacturing sector in the UK which currently has only one battery plant at the Nissan factory in Sunderland. It is understood 35 plants are planned or already under construction across the EU.

AMTE Power, based in Thurso, intends to build a £190m battery megafactory in Dundee as a first step to building its own gigafactory. It will have the capacity to produce over 25,000 high added value batteries per day, over eight million per year.

EY described the failure of Britishvolt as “disappointing”. Dan Hurd, joint administrator, said the plan was to explore options for a sale of the business and assets. It is not known if AMTE has expressed any interest in the Blyth project.

Britishvolt has been troubled from the start, losing its CEO and only narrowly avoided collapse at the end of last year after an emergency lifeline was extended by one of its investors, the commodity trading giant Glencore. Abrdn was among the early investors in the project.

Last year, Britishvolt asked the government to advance £30m of a promised £100m in support, but was refused as the company had not hit agreed construction milestones to access the funds.

Government sources are said to remain confident that the plant will eventually be built.



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