Offer made for bust Britishvolt – report

Australian based startup ReCharge Industries has made a nonbinding offer for the collapsed UK battery company Britishvolt which could revive plans to construct a large plant in northern England, The Guardian reported.

The newspaper said the bid was lodged in the UK late on Tuesday, shortly after a cash crunch at Britishvolt sent the company into administration. The collapse has severely dented the country’s attempts to modernise its automotive industry and supply the next generation of UK built electric vehicles.

Hundreds of jobs were made redundant as the cash ran out, and plans to build a £3.8bn (A$6.7bn) “gigafactory” near Blyth in Northumberland left in tatters.

The Recharge Industries bid was first reported by the Australian Financial Review, The Guardian said.

A successful offer would give Recharge, an Australian company that sits under New York based investment firm Scale Facilitation, immediate scale in a burgeoning industry. It also plans to start building a battery factory in Geelong, the former Ford car manufacturing hub southwest of Melbourne.

The proposed lithium-ion battery plant would not use Chinese or Russian materials, a decision that leverages Australia’s deep mineral deposits and limits supply chain risks, the reports said.

Scale Facilitation’s Geelong born founder and chief executive, David Collard, said a Britishvolt deal made strategic sense.

“Strengthening our friends in the UK, especially when most others are kicking them when they’re down, is in our interest and definitely in the spirit of Aukus,” Collard said, referring to the trilateral security pact.

Britishvolt management had been in talks with a number of potential investors, including existing investors and an obscure Indonesia linked group. The Guardian had previously revealed DeaLab Group, a UK-based private equity investor, and an associated metals business, Barracuda Group, were in talks over a GBP160m rescue deal.

EY had previously said the UK company did not have sufficient equity for its research and development of facilities, prompting the appointment of administrators.

The next stage of a sale process would typically involve approved bidders accessing the data room, where detailed information about the company’s operations is kept.

The chief executive of Recharge Industries, Rob Fitzpatrick, said the operation would provide the Australian company with greater access to Europe should the offer proceed.

“Demand for lithium-ion battery storage is continuing to go through the roof,” Fitzpatrick reportedly said.

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