The site is in Cambois. Credit: Britishvolt

EY widens hunt for Britishvolt buyer

Negotiations are taking place with various parties to take on the proposed gigafactory site in Northumberland, the administrator said.

Start-up Britishvolt was conceived as a business to develop a £3.8bn gigafactory to make battery packs for next-generation electric vehicles.

With a site picked at a former power station site near Blyth. pre-construction work started, but Britishvolt went into administration in January 2023 with EY.

A deal with Australian buyer Recharge Industries was quickly lined up – with trade envoy Lord Botham reportedly playing a part in negotiations – and the outfit still remains the preferred buyer.

However, as a report filed with Companies House shows, Recharge remains in default of part of its Business Sale Agreement – essentially, it still owes the last instalment of the agreed total for the site and assets.

According to reports, the business paid £6.1m of the agreed £8.6m, with the balance remaining outstanding.

Recharge, part of the investment group Scale Facilitation, has had a troubled time, with tax demands and other legal issues dogging the firm and its figurehead David Collard.

EY is thus seeking alternative options. In the report, it said: “The buyer continues to remain in default of the Business Sale Agreement and as such, the joint administrators have held discussions with a number of additional parties who have intimated that they may be interested in acquiring the proposed gigafactory site in Northumberland”.

The report goes on to record that unsecured creditor claims continue to come in, and could ultimately account to anywhere between £130m to £160m. EY expects no more than 1p in the pound to be recovered for such creditors.

The Britishvolt plan was unveiled to some fanfare in 2020, with the government pledging £100m to support the project. No revenue was created before its collapse, and no IP was developed.

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