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Recharge for Britishvolt as administrator names preferred bidder

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The administrators for collapsed North East battery “gigafactory” Britishvolt have selected an Australian start-up as preferred bidder for the collapsed tech company.

EY confirmed on Monday morning that it had chosen Recharge Industries, owned by US investment firm Scale Facilitation Partners, to acquire the “majority of the business and assets” of Britishvolt after it entered administration last month.

The firm finally collapsed in January after months of funding problems, resulting in more than 200 job losses as well as uncertainty over the 3,000 jobs the company had planned to eventually create at the site.

The failure cast a huge cloud over the whole UK motor manufacturing industry with no other plans in place for a major home-grown manufacturer of batteries to power electric vehicles.

Details of exactly what Recharge has agreed to buy, or its precise plans moving forwards remain scant at this stage, but its purchase does includ the proposed gigafactory site at Blyth in Northumberland.

David Collard, chief executive of Scale Facilitation and founder of Recharge, said: “We’re thrilled to be progressing with our proposed bid for Britishvolt and can’t wait to get started making a reality of our plans to build the UK’s first gigafactory.

“After a competitive and rigorous process, we’re confident our proposal will deliver a strong outcome for all involved.”

Initial reports also suggest that 26 members of staff who were retained during the administration process will be kept on by the new owner.

EY said of the preferred bidder decision: “This follows a process conducted by EY that involved the consideration of multiple approaches from interested parties and numerous offers received.

“Completion of the acquisition is expected to occur within the next seven days.”

Britishvolt had intended to manufacture power cells for 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs a year, but its financial support was mostly conditional.

The £3.8bn project was ostensibly backed by £1.7bn of private funding, but that was subject to government support which never materialised as Britishvolt was deemed to have missed key targets.

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