UK battery start-up Britishvolt on brink of administration


Troubled UK battery start-up Britishvolt is on the brink of falling into administration as early as today, putting some 300 jobs at risk in the North East, according to reports.

The company has been developing Britain’s biggest electric car battery plant in Blyth, Northumberland, with the £3.8billion gigafactory set to employ up to 3,000 workers.

However, the group has been in emergency fundraising talks in recent weeks and could slide into insolvency today, says the Financial Times having spoken to three people ‘with knowledge of the situation’.

Britain’s biggest battery plant at risk: Start-up Britishvolt is reportedly set to slip into administration today (Monday) having failed to secure funding for its ambitious factory plans

It is understood that Britishvolt has lined up advisors from EY to oversee the potential administration process.

The Government backed the plans for the gigafactory in January and said it would support Britishvolt with undisclosed funding, understood to be around £100million. 

However, the firm has not yet received this funding.

Britishvolt has also received tens of millions of pounds of financial backing from FTSE 100 metals firm Glencore, which saw its shares dip on Monday morning.

The company has faced uncertainty in recent months, with co-founder Orral Nadjari leaving the firm in July.

Over recent months, the company has held urgent talks to access more funding to pump into its development until it can start production and deliver its own revenues.

It had reportedly attempted to raise £200million or to sell the company outright, having been in advanced talks with a number of potential suitors, including India’s Tata Motors, which is the parent company of British car maker Jaguar Land Rover.

A spokesman for Britishvolt told This is Money: ‘We are aware of market speculation.

‘We are actively working on several potential scenarios that offer the required stability. We have no further comment at this time.’

The company has been developing Britain's biggest electric car battery plant in Blyth, Northumberland, with the £3.8billion gigafactory set to employ up to 3,000 workers

The company has been developing Britain’s biggest electric car battery plant in Blyth, Northumberland, with the £3.8billion gigafactory set to employ up to 3,000 workers

The Government backed the plans for the gigafactory in January and said it would support it with undisclosed funding, understood to be around £100m. This has not been received

The Government backed the plans for the gigafactory in January and said it would support it with undisclosed funding, understood to be around £100m. This has not been received

Back in March it announced a partnership with British luxury car maker Aston Martin to develop high-performance batteries to set ‘new standards of repeatable on-track performance, charging and range’ for its fleet of future mighty motors.

The two companies were set to create a joint research and development team to design and develop battery packs and a battery management system, they said.

The collapse of the ambitious project will be a hammer blow for the Government’s intentions for Britain to become a leader for electric vehicles in the future.

Britishvolt had been heavily promoted by former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, as part of his efforts to champion to UK as an electric vehicle battery producer.

Politicians and manufacturers had hoped the gigafactory would make the UK less dependent on foreign imports and breathe fresh life into Britain’s car industry. 

The Financial Times says the news will likely trigger ‘a rush’ to secure the Blyth locations, which is the expansive 235-acre (95 hectare) grounds of the old power station in the North East.

It is believed to be one of the country’s best battery-making locations due to its deep seaport, rail links and clean energy.

Britishvolt had been heavily promoted by former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, as part of his efforts to champion to UK as an electric vehicle battery producer

Britishvolt had been heavily promoted by former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, as part of his efforts to champion to UK as an electric vehicle battery producer

The proposed factory, built on the expansive grounds of the former Blyth Power Station, was set to become Britain's fourth largest building

The proposed factory, built on the expansive grounds of the former Blyth Power Station, was set to become Britain’s fourth largest building

After reports that Britishvolt might enter administration, shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: ‘This disastrous news is a further reminder that the economic crisis made in Downing Street is costing jobs and investment.

‘It is a sight that has become all too familiar – businesses going under, jobs being lost and investment in the industries of the future going abroad rather than the UK.

‘The blame here lies with a Conservative government that has run Britain’s economy down over 12 years, failed to back growing industries as other countries have and has completely failed to grow our economy.’

Britishvolt’s plans were for it to become one of the biggest ‘gigafactories’ in Europe and – once completed – the fourth largest building in the whole of the UK, providing up to 3,000 extra jobs in the North East.

Today’s reports mean the Nissan-Envision AESC plant being built next to the Japanese manufacturer’s car factory in Sunderland looks set to become Britain’s first electric car battery gigaplant, which is due to be manufacturing units from 2024.

The company that produces the electric black taxi has confirmed today it will be cutting 140 jobs at its factory on the outskirts of Coventry

The company that produces the electric black taxi has confirmed today it will be cutting 140 jobs at its factory on the outskirts of Coventry

Electric black cab maker to cut 140 jobs in Coventry

LEVC, the manufacturer that produces the electric black taxi, has also announced on Monday that it will lay off around 20 per cent of its staff.

Around 140 roles will be cut the brand’s Coventry factory after a turbulent period of sales caused by supply chain disruption and ‘global economic challenges’.

The company, which is owned by Chinese firm Geely, delivered just 1,620 vans and taxis last year, posting pre-tax losses of £118million.

LEVC - which stands for London Electric Vehicle Company - delivered just 1,620 vans and taxis last year, posting pre-tax losses of £118million. It blamed supply chain disruption and 'global economic challenges' for a slowdown in sales

LEVC – which stands for London Electric Vehicle Company – delivered just 1,620 vans and taxis last year, posting pre-tax losses of £118million. It blamed supply chain disruption and ‘global economic challenges’ for a slowdown in sales

It said it expects a new wave of products due next year to increase sales.

The London Taxi Company, since renamed the London Electric Vehicle Company, faced administration in 2013 before the Zhejing Geely Holding Group stepped in to rescue the firm.

It opened its £300million plant in Ansty in 2017, initially creating more than 1,000 jobs.

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