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UK battery developer Britishvolt goes into administration


EY to handle administration

Talks with investors fell through

  • Author
  • Jacqueline Holman
  • Editor
  • Alisdair Bowles
  • Commodity
  • Metals
  • Topic
  • Battery Metals

Battery developer Britishvolt has gone into insolvency and administration, after discussions with potential investors fell through.

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The company confirmed Jan. 17 that EY would be handling the administration.

In an emailed statement in response to S&P Global Commodity Insights' questions, EY said that Britishvolt had entered into administration due to insufficient equity investment for its ongoing research and the development of its sites in the Midlands and the Northeast of England, with Jo Robinson and Alan Hudson of EY-Parthenon's Turnaround and Restructuring Strategy team appointed as joint administrators.

"The joint administrators are assessing the options for realizing the potential value in the business and assets of the company, including intellectual property and R&D assets, for the benefit of creditors," it said. "The administrators will subsequently implement an orderly closure and winding down of the company's affairs, as required," EY added.

"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," EY-Parthenon Joint Administrator and Partner Dan Hurd said in the statement.

The majority of Britishvolt employees have been made redundant with immediate effect Jan .17.

Earlier in January, the company said it was in discussions with a consortium of investors concerning the potential majority sale of the company, although no details were given on whether the investors were already involved in the company, how big of a stake it would be willing to sell or how much it hoped to raise.

If a deal had been struck, it would have given the embattled company with the long-term sustainability and funding necessary to enable it to pursue its plans to build a viable battery cell R&D and manufacturing business in the UK.

The administration will be a blow to the UK's gigafactory plans, with the Faraday Institution saying in June 2022 that the country would have enough demand for around 100 GWh of supply, or the equivalent to five 20 GWh/year gigafactories by 2030 and ten 20 GWh/year gigafactories by 2040.

Britishvolt has been facing financial difficulties in recent months, with the company securing in early November the necessary near-term investment to bridge the gap for a few weeks to achieve a more secure funding position. At the time, employees also voluntarily agreed to a temporary salary reduction in November to reduce near-term costs.

The company's C-suite team did not draw their full salaries in December, although all other employees received their usual salaries.

In October, the company decided to close its small administrative and finance office in the UAE to reset its business focus.

In November, Britishvolt withdrew its plans to build a battery cell gigafactory in Quebec, Canada.

At the end of August, Britishvolt delayed first-phase battery cell production from its gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland, by six months to mid-2025 due to economic headwinds. Production was first planned to start by the end of 2023 and then the end of 2024.

Britishvolt started construction on a GBP3.8 billion ($4.7 billion) gigafactory in September 2021. The plant is planned to be built in four phases of around 10 GWh.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed seaborne lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide at $73,000/mt CIF North Asia and $79,500/mt CIF North Asia Jan. 17, up 116% and 151%, respectively, since the start of 2022.