Ministers will look ‘seriously’ at any credible Britishvolt takeover bids
The Government will look “seriously” at any bids to save collapsed electric battery business Britishvolt, a minister has suggested, following an Australian start-up’s 11th-hour rescue offer.
Business minister Nusrat Ghani told the Commons the Government was committed to the industrial site in Northumberland.
It comes after Recharge Industries said it lodged a late takeover bid on Tuesday for Britishvolt, which had plans to build a £3.8 billion gigafactory to make batteries at the Cambois site.
Britishvolt collapsed into administration a week ago, making the majority of its roughly 300 workers redundant.
In the Commons, Ms Ghani said: “This is a fantastic site. All the ingredients are in play. I cannot comment on what’s been speculated in the press, but I can confirm that any credible options going forward, that we will of course take them very seriously.
“We are very committed to the site… This Government is determined to make that site work for Blyth as it will for the whole of the United Kingdom.”
Labour MP Ian Lavery welcomed news of Recharge’s rescue bid, as he led an adjournment debate on the matter at the end of Wednesday’s Commons sitting.
The Wansbeck MP, whose constituency is home to the Cambois site, said: “It is very encouraging. Also reports in the press this morning say there are 12 other companies who have shown an interest, which again is really encouraging and let’s hope that something can happen.”
He added: “We cannot have another false dawn, we cannot have another Britishvolt, where a project of this magnitude, the land, the planning, everything in place, for the Government to go cold and step back from assisting our regions.”
Britishvolt appointed administrators at EY after failing to raise enough cash for its research and the development of its Cambois site.
The company’s failure came after months of trouble as the company struggled to raise enough money to stay afloat.
Last week, administrators at EY said: “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.”
However on Wednesday, Recharge told the Australian Financial Review that it has made a non-binding takeover offer.
Recharge, which is backed by New York investment firm Scale Facilitation, is moving forward with plans to build a similar battery factory in Geelong, near Melbourne.
David Collard, Scale Facilitation’s Geelong-born founder and chief executive, said a takeover of the British business would make strategic sense.
He said: “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 (Australia-UK-US security pact) Aukus.”
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