(Owen Humphreys/PA)
17 January 2023

Hundreds to lose jobs as electric car battery maker Britishvolt collapses

17 January 2023

Electric car battery company Britishvolt has fallen into administration and made the majority of its 300 staff redundant, administrators have confirmed.

The company, which had plans to build a gigafactory to make the batteries in Northumberland, has appointed administrators at EY after failing to raise enough cash for its research and the development of its Cambois site.

It comes after months of trouble as the company struggled to raise enough money to stay afloat. A week ago the group said it was in talks with potential investors.

“The company has entered into administration due to insufficient equity investment for both the ongoing research it was undertaking and the development of its sites in the Midlands and the North East of England,” EY said on Tuesday.

“The joint administrators are assessing the options for realising the potential value in the business and assets of the company, including intellectual property and R&D assets, for the benefit of creditors.

“The administrators will subsequently implement an orderly closure and winding down of the company’s affairs, as required.

“As a result, regrettably, the majority of Power by Britishvolt Limited employees have been made redundant with immediate effect.

“All those impacted are being offered appropriate support and advice.”

There were clear milestones we expect anybody who’s received public money to hit and we are looking at the situation very carefully to make sure they are

Last Monday, the company said it was seeking a deal with a consortium of investors to purchase a majority stake in Britishvolt and secure its future.

The group’s board held further talks but decided on Monday there were no current viable takeover offers.

The start-up has been developing a £3.8 billion gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland, and received tens of millions of pounds of financial backing from metals giant Glencore.

But it fell into emergency funding talks in November after revealing it was close to entering administration, and managed to secure funding to keep it afloat in the short term.

Britishvolt has around 300 existing employees who agreed to a voluntary salary cut for November to help reduce costs.

The company had previously been promised some funding from the Government, but it was conditional on it reaching certain targets, so no money had been paid out.

A spokesperson for the Business Department said: “As part of our efforts to see British companies succeed in the industry, we offered significant support to Britishvolt through the Automotive Transformation Fund on the condition that key milestones – including private sector investment commitments – were met.

“We remained hopeful that Britishvolt would find a suitable investor and are disappointed to hear that this has not been possible, and therefore no ATF grant has been paid out.

“Our thoughts are with the company’s employees and their families at this time, and we stand ready to support those affected.”

Ian Levy, Tory MP for the red wall seat of Blyth Valley, said he will continue to ask the Government to support the Northumberland Britishvolt site.

He said: “Our area needs this investment and the jobs that will bring, and I will be asking the Government to stand by the offer of financial support from the Automotive Transformation Fund for any consortium able to put together a full package.

“I will work tirelessly with the Government and the council to attract potential investors to the site to make sure a major project goes ahead.”

The Unite union said the Government was guilty of “a total abdication of leadership” over the UK’s electric car battery manufacture sector.

National officer for the automotive sector, Steve Bush, said: “This is a grim day for the North East and for the just transition to the electrification of the nation’s automotive sector.

“The complete lack of a competent industrial strategy by the Government to protect jobs in the UK automotive sector is becoming potentially more catastrophic by the day.”

Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s shadow business secretary, said: “The Government’s long-term failure on industrial strategy means we’re losing the global race for electric vehicle battery manufacturing putting our world-famous car industry at risk.

“Under this Government local communities are watching businesses shutting their doors, job opportunities going abroad and investment leaving Britain.”

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