Britishvolt administrators look for new buyer after deal stalls

Administrators for Britishvolt are speaking to new potential buyers after the company that struck a deal to buy it one year ago failed to pay what it owes.

Britishvolt, which planned to build a £3.8bn vehicle-battery plant in Cambois, near Blyth, Northumberland, went into administration in January 2023.

Weeks later, battery manufacturer Recharge Industries agreed a deal to buy the company from administrators EY for £8.57m in a series of instalments.

But the Australian company has not paid the final instalment and remains in default, said a report released this week by EY.

It added: “The joint administrators have held discussions with a number of additional parties who have intimated that they may be interested in acquiring the proposed gigafactory site.” EY is also in discussions about selling shares in the Britishvolt subsidiary that owns the land.

The deal with Recharge Industries has not been terminated yet, the report said, but negotiations are nevertheless taking place elsewhere.

EY added that it cannot provide more information due to commercial sensitivities.

Northumberland County Council, which sold the land for the site to Britishvolt, this week created a £15m strategic fund for the “acquisition of strategic land and/or property” in the county, prompting local speculation that it may be one of the parties negotiating with the administrators.

ISG won a £300m contract to build the Britishvolt factory in December 2020 and its owner William Harrison joined Britishvolt’s board weeks later. It suspended its work on site in August 2022 citing “design changes”.

ISG did not lose any money as a result of the administration.

Mechanical & electrical specialist NG Bailey, which was an investor in Britishvolt, was owed more than £2m when the latter went under, while Sunbelt Rentals owner Ashtead wrote off a £35m investment in the firm.

The latest report from EY said it was still too early to determine how much creditors will be paid following the administration.

It also noted that former Britishvolt chief executive Orral Nadjari bought the company’s shareholding in a company called Britishvolt Limited (UAE) for £1 prior to it going into administration.

The full value of the sale, worth £65,300 according to a draft completion statement, had not been fully agreed or paid when EY was appointed, the report stated.

In September, a dispute over how much Nadjari owed the administrators for those shares was settled for £45,000.

Recharge Industries has been contacted for comment.

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