Preferred bidder

Australian group Recharge to revive Britishvolt

Britishvolt’s plans for £3.8bn battery plan collapsed last month

Australian battery group Recharge Industries has been confirmed as the preferred bidder to buy electric battery developer Britishvolt out of administration.

Administrators at EY informed the company on Friday evening that it had beaten three rivals and EY said it will sign a contract today with the aim of receiving funds within days.

Britishvolt, which had planned to build a £3.8 billion factory at Blyth in Northumberland, collapsed two weeks ago after the battery start-up ran out of cash, forcing it to lay off almost all of its 200 remaining staff.

However, interest remained in reviving the project and over the past fortnight, more than 50 interested buyers were whittled down to four companies that submitted bids on Wednesday.

Rival bids came from a group of Britishvolt investors and one from private equity group Greybull Capital. A fourth bid was tabled by the Saudi British Bank, a retail bank partly backed by HSBC, according to the Financial Times.

EY today said it selected Scale Facilitation Partners and its Australian subsidiary Recharge Industries to take the project forward.

Scale Facilitation, which launched Recharge in 2021, is a New York-based investment vehicle that has backed a handful of start-ups in the medical technology and green energy sectors.

The company is also planning to build a battery plant in the Australian city of Geelong.

Katch Fund Solutions, a creditor to Britishvolt, will be repaid the near £10m of debt it is owed that was secured against the land, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Abrdn, the Edinburgh-based asset manager, initially had exclusive rights to lead and arrange a syndicate of investors to finance the building of the Blyth gigafactory.

It is understood interested parties were identified, but those leading the project were unable to meet certain conditions and milestones.

Thurso-based battery producer AMTE Power is planning a £190m megafactory in Dundee as a step towards building its own gigafactory.

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