britishvolt gigaplant northumberland

EV battery-maker Britishvolt collapses; hundreds to lose jobs

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The majority of Britishvolt’s roughly 300 workers have been made redundant after the electric car battery maker entered insolvency, administrators EY have confirmed today.

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 today (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.”

Dan Hurd, joint administrator and partner at EY Parthenon, said: “Britishvolt provided a significant opportunity to create jobs and employment, as well as support the development of technology and infrastructure needed to help with the UK’s energy transition.

“It is disappointing that the company has been unable to fulfil its ambitions and secure the equity funding needed to continue.

“Our priorities as joint administrators are now to protect the interests of the company’s creditors, explore options for a sale of the business and assets, and to support the impacted employees.”

Earlier today, before the EY announcement was made public, Downing Street admitted it was aware of the speculation around Britishvolt’s future but would not comment directly on the firm, saying “we will await further updates from that specific company”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We continue to take steps to ensure the UK remains one of the best locations in the world for automotive manufacturing as we transition to electric vehicles.

“We are investing record sums in R&D including the recent announcement of £211m into the Faraday battery challenge.”

Meanwhile, Kevin Hollinrake, the Conservative business minister, insisted that the government had not withdrawn any money from Britishvolt. Darren Jones, the Labour chairman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, pressed Hollinrake on Britishvolt.

Jones told the Commons: “Britishvolt, the once valued £3.8bn-site of national importance for the production of electric vehicle batteries in our country, is today going into administration.

“Does the minister agree with me that the future of UK car manufacturing relies on UK battery production? And if so, what is he going to do about it?”

Hollinrake replied: “Again, he raises a very important point. It’s important to note that we have not withdrawn any money from Britishvolt, but clearly taxpayers' money is important. It’s important that we dispense that money in a responsible way.

“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.”

Exactly one year ago, in January 2022, Britishvolt's future appeared decidedly rosier, with the UK government pledging to provide financial support for a new £3.8bn gigaplant in Northumberland that was intended to produce batteries for electric vehicles.

However, by October, the company was already preparing for the possibility that it could enter administration. It was said that Britishvolt had yet to receive any of the government's promised funding, an undisclosed amount but understood to be worth around £100m.

By December, the writing appeared to be well and truly on the wall, with the resignation of Britishvolt's chairman Lars Carlstrom – following the revelation that he had been convicted of tax fraud in Sweden over 20 years ago – leading a union boss to express grave concerns over the company's “ability to deliver on their plans” and to openly question its future.

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