Britishvolt in talks to sell majority stake in gigafactory project

Britishvolt in talks to sell majority stake in gigafactory
Britishvolt in talks to sell majority stake in gigafactory project

Embattled start-up confirms it is in discussion with a consortium of unnamed investors about a sale

Britishvolt has confirmed it anticipates selling the majority of its shares to a consortium of investors in order to keep alive its plans to build an electric vehicle (EV) battery plant on the Northumberland coast.

The start-up's ambitious plans to deliver a £3.8bn gigafactory in the village of Cambois, near Blyth, have been thrown into disarray by the company's widely reported cash flow issues.

The embattled company was saved from collapse in the autumn when mining giant Glencore, an existing investor in the project, provided a £5m lifeline to the scheme and staff agreed to take a temporary wage cut. The rescue came after the UK government rejected the company's request for an advance on a grant promised once certain construction milestones had been met.

Yesterday, Britishvolt confirmed that it was now "in discussions with a consortium of investors concerning the potential majority sale of the company".

The sale of shares would provide the start-up with cash to move ahead with its ambitious plans in Northumberland, which it maintains will create 3,000 jobs in the region and establish the UK as a leader in EV manufacturing.

"The discussions aim to secure legally binding terms that would provide Britishvolt with the long-term sustainability and funding necessary to enable it to pursue its current plans to build a strong and viable battery cell R&D and manufacturing business in the UK," the company statement reads.

The scheme had been hailed by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson as an example of how the UK could drive a 'green industrial revolution' that would benefit the British economy and accelerate progress towards climate goals.

The only other large-scale EV battery manufacturing plant being planned in the UK is a project in Sunderland by Chinese company Envision Group. Construction started on the new factory last month.

Britishvolt declined to name the investors it was currently courting for the sale. However, an insider told the Guardian the parties involved were not currently shareholders in the company.

The company has already written to existing investors asking them to approve a request for a new investor to come in to replace existing investors, according to the Guardian's source.

* This article was originally published here