Troubled UK Gigafactory Startup Britishvolt sold to Australia’s Recharge Industries
Australia-based battery technology startup Recharge Industries announced today the acquisition of troubled UK battery company Britishvolt, reviving plans for the UK’s first gigafactory project.
Launched in 2019, Britishvolt had planned to construct a £3.8 billion battercy cell gigaplant in Northumberland, capable of producing more than 300,000 lithium-ion batteries a year and employing over 3,000 people.
The company had raised capital from investors including mining giant Glencore, and early last year the UK government committed to invest £100 million in the gigafactory project through its £1.7 billion Automotive Transformation Fund, in a move intended to attract additional private investment. After reportedly failing to raise sufficient capital, however, the project was suspended, and Britishvolt founder and CEO Orral Nadjari stepped down in August 2022. The company entered administration in January 2023, with administrator EY announcing that it “anticipated that the creditors of the Company will not be repaid in full,” and “that there will be no funds available for distribution to shareholders.”
In a statement released today, EY confirmed the sale to Recharge for “an undisclosed sum,” adding that “the sale of the business will help to support the development of technology and infrastructure needed for the UK’s energy transition.”
Recharge Industries, a portfolio company of New York-based investment firm Scale Facilitation, was founded in 2022, and is developing Australia’s first large-scale lithium-ion cell production facility. The company said that it presented plans to enable the Britishvolt project to “make the UK’s first Gigafactory a reality,” although media reports indicate that the company aims to focus first on batteries for energy storage applications, such as grid-scale and building applications, rather than EVs.
David A. Collard, Founder and CEO of Scale Facilitation said:
“We are thrilled to have been successful in our bid for ownership of Britishvolt; our plans are the right ones for the local community and the UK economy.”