A British group of investors has submitted a last-minute bid to buy troubled battery start-up Britishvolt, a report has claimed.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the BBC reported that a “British consortium” had put forward an offer, rivalling those previously submitted by an Indonesia-linked group and another comprising existing investors.
Last week, the start-up entered talks to sell a majority stake in an effort to secure its future. It said in a statement: “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.”
Previous discussions are widely reported to have been held with a consortium linked to Indonesia – with zero link to manufacturing, according to the BBC – and another comprising existing investors.
Any buyout effort – anticipated to cost around £30 million – must secure the support of 75% of shareholders in order to be successful.
When approached by Autocar, a Britishvolt spokesperson declined to respond to the latest news reports.
Britishvolt is expected to enter administration if it does not secure a buyer. It narrowly avoided collapse in November after securing several million pounds in funding from mining firm Glencore.
Combined with a voluntary pay cut for its near-300 staff, this gave Britishvolt sufficient funding to survive until early December.
The company was prepared to enter administration after the UK government rejected a request for £30 million in advance funding to prevent its collapse. It has been promised £100m to build its £3.8bn battery gigafactory through the Automotive Transformation Fund, but is yet to hit construction milestones required to unlock the cash.
Repeated requests for funding – dwindling in value each time; from £30m to £11.5m and then £3m – sowed doubt in the Government over the company’s viability, reported the BBC.
As previously reported, one of the key issues affecting Britishvolt was that it loses around £3m per month on staff pay, yet isn’t expected to generate revenue until 2025. An exodus of 25 staff since November – mostly senior managers – reported by start-up tracking publication Sifted may help Britishvolt to cut its outgoings. Britishvolt’s spokesperson acknowledged to Autocar that there has been “some attrition of staff”; figures from LinkedIn suggest a 12% reduction in headcount over the past six months.
Britishvolt was formed in 2020 with the goal of building a battery gigafactory to supply Britain’s automotive industry from 2023.