Australian electric battery maker buys Britishvolt out of administration

The site in Blyth where Britishvolt had planned to build an electric battery gigafactory - Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The site in Blyth where Britishvolt had planned to build an electric battery gigafactory - Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Plans for an electric battery gigafactory in the UK have been revived after an Australian business struck a deal to buy collapsed Britishvolt.

Recharge Industries, which has operations in Geelong and New York, has been chosen as the preferred bidder for the company and plans to revive its goal of building a battery factory in the North East.

David Collard, founder of Recharge Industries and chief executive of its parent Scale Facilitation, said the Australian business was “thrilled” and “can’t wait to get started making a reality of our plans to build the UK’s first gigafactory”.

He added: “After a competitive and rigorous process, we’re confident our proposal will deliver a strong outcome for all involved.”

Recharge Industries has licensed electric battery designs from the US and is working on building a lithium-ion battery factory in the Australian state of Victoria.

Mr Collard previously thanked Lord Botham, the retired cricketer turned trade envoy, for his “proactive assistance" ahead of its bid.

Britishvolt was working on Britain's first battery factory in Blyth but collapsed last month. 

Joint administrators EY said the majority of the business and assets would be taken on by Recharge, with the deal set to close within a week.

Administrators considered "numerous offers" for the failed electric battery maker, EY said.

Greybull, the former owner of British Steel and Monarch Airlines, is understood to have held talks with administrators while Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata was also said to be interested at one point.

Britishvolt fell into administration in January after struggling to secure funding. 200 people were made redundant.

The company was founded by Swedes Orral Nadjari and Lars Carlstrom in December 2019 and the project was championed by former prime minister Boris Johnson.

Doubts were raised about the financial health of the business last summer. Commodities giant Glencore, which was an investor in Britishvolt, agreed a last-minute deal to provide a five week life-line late last year but the business was unable to secure long-term funding.