Britishvolt: 'Majority' of company's 300 workers made redundant as it enters administration

An undated artist's impression of Britishvolt's UK battery gigaplant in Northumberland Credit: PA MEDIA

Staff at the troubled electric car battery maker Britishvolt have been told the company has entered administration.

The majority of the company's 300 workers have been made redundant, it has been confirmed.

The company had planned to build a gigafactory in Northumberland, where it had hoped to employ 3,000 people at the £3.8bn development.

The future of the Britishvolt project, in Cambois, had been in doubt for months.

But talks to find a buyer collapsed last night, and this morning the company appointed administrators to oversee the closure of the company.

Dan Hurd, Jo Robinson and Alan Hudson of EY-Parthenon’s Turnaround and Restructuring Strategy team were appointed joint administrators on Tuesday 17 January.

In a statement, EY said the company had entered administration due to insufficient equity investment for ongoing research and the development of its sites.

Mr Hurd 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.”

It comes a week after the group said it was in talks with investors over a possible sale to keep it afloat.

Last Monday, the company said it was seeking a deal with a consortium of investors to purchase a majority stake in Britishvolt and secure its future.

The group’s board held further talks but decided on Monday there were no current viable takeover offers.

The Government-backed start-up has been developing a £3.8 billion gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland, and received tens of millions of pounds of financial backing from metals giant Glencore.

But it fell into emergency funding talks in November after revealing it was close to entering administration, and managed to secure funding to keep it afloat in the short term.

Britishvolt had around 300 existing employees who agreed to a voluntary salary cut for November to help reduce costs.

Ian Levy, Tory MP for Blyth Valley, said he will continue to ask the Government to support the Northumberland Britishvolt site.

In a statement, he said: “Our area needs this investment and the jobs that will bring, and I will be asking the Government to stand by the offer of financial support from the Automotive Transformation Fund for any consortium able to put together a full package.

“I will work tirelessly with the Government and the council to attract potential investors to the site to make sure a major project goes ahead.

“The UK automotive industry’s need for a battery gigafactory remains and the site on the Blyth Estuary is still the best in the country, with a large area, excellent power connectivity, a deep-water port, strong workforce supply and easy access to the national road network.”

The North of Tyne elected mayor, Jamie Driscoll, said: “We’ve been investing in Blyth, in the port infrastructure, a major skills training facility, creating thousands of jobs in green industries other than Britishvolt.

“Sadly, it wasn’t to be for Britishvolt – my thoughts go out to their staff. This is still the best site in the country for a gigafactory and I’m sure we’ll see interest in it.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy  (BEIS) said: “As part of our efforts to see British companies succeed in the industry, we offered significant support to Britishvolt through the Automotive Transformation Fund on the condition that key milestones – including private sector investment commitments - were met.  

“We remained hopeful that Britishvolt would find a suitable investor and are disappointed to hear that this has not been possible, and therefore no ATF grant has been paid out. Our thoughts are with the company’s employees and their families at this time, and we stand ready to support those affected.

“The UK is one of the best locations in the world for automotive manufacturing, and we want to ensure the best outcome for the site. We will work closely with the Local Authority and potential investors to achieve this, as part of our commitment to boost.”

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