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Recharge Industries acquired Britishvolt for just £8.5m say administrators

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Britishvolt’s buyers, Recharge Industries, picked the failed, near-£4bn ultimate valued, North East battery megafactory project for just £8.5 million according to a new report from administrators EY.

The report is the latest stage in settling the company’s affairs since it went into administration on January 17.

Australian-based startup Recharge, which is owned by US company Scale Facilitation, completed its purchase of Britishvolt on 27 February.

Administrators say Recharge will also need to settle a debt of £9.7m with Katch Fund Solutions in order to complete its acquisition of Britishvolt’s site in Cambois, Northumberland, which ITV Tyne Tees news says is “widely regarded as one of the best locations in Europe for building a battery factory.”

Even with the additional debt to settle, Recharge’s total investment comes to less that 10 per cent of the £200m raised by Britishvolt in equity and loans in just over three years, and a fraction of the project’s projected ultimate value in the billions, although plenty more investment will still be needed to reach that stage.

The administrators have confirmed that the government’s offer of a £100m grant to help develop the site was terminated when Britishvolt entered administration, meaning Recharge will need to negotiate a fresh deal with ministers if they want to seek taxpayer support.

The report also shows that the company had just £1.8m in the bank when it entered administration and raised less than £100m in equity during 2022, out of a target of £800m and owes around £5.4m in tax. It also ran a fleet of 83 motor vehicles, including three it owned outright.

More than 200 staff were made redundant when the company folded, reducing its headcount from 233 to 31. The administrators expect money owed to HMRC and former employees to be paid in full, or nearly in full, but warn other creditors that they can expect payouts of less than one penny in the pound.

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