Britishvolt’s collapsed battery-maker triggers bidding war

Norwegian suitors show interest in a failed “gigafactory” company that is being sold.

Norwegian battery company, Norwegian Battery Company, is currently circling Britishvolt’s collapsed UK start-up in a bidding war that has attracted five potential suitors.

The failed “gigafactory”, which was aiming to build Northumberland’s first battery plant, was selling its assets in a fire sale. It had received multiple bids through an EY process.

According to The Telegraph, Freyr is a Norwegian battery manufacturer that Charles Koch has backed. Freyr, which is worth $1.2bn (£970m) and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is for sale.

Named after the Norse god of peace, the company is named after him. The company plans to build a Norwegian battery factory called Giga Arctic. Koch Industries, Mr Koch’s energy company, is building a plant in the US with Freyr.

Bidders had to submit proposals that were not binding earlier in the week. An Australian start-up led by David Collard was the only party that confirmed its interest.

Recharge Industries’ offer for £30m was accepted by Scale Facilitation, Mr Collard’s New York-based investment firm. According to reports, a bid from current investors also made it through the first round.

Recharge Industries is grateful to Lord Ian Botham who was a former England cricketer and became the UK’s trade envoy for Australia. Collard stated that Lord Botham is supportive. He wants people to get back into jobs.

More than 200 employees lost their jobs after Britishvolt, which was backed by Glencore but had claimed to be the UK’s champion battery, collapsed earlier in the month.

Boris Johnson had supported the company as a way of building a domestic battery industry for electric vehicles. The company had received £100m from ministers.

Britishvolt’s plans, however, were repeatedly delayed. Britishvolt’s plans were repeatedly delayed.

Orral Nadjari was the ex-chief executive of Britishvolt. He accused the UK Government of a failing industrial policy. He stated that “Nobody was there for Britishvolt… The industrial policy in place lacks solid foundations and isn’t conducive to growth.”

Ministers claimed that their funding was tied to specific milestones, which Britishvolt did not meet.

Recharge Industries’ Mr Collard said that he was open to negotiations to re-examine the £100m offer from the UK Government. He stated, “We must deliver.” He stated that the company would be open to offering its intellectual property as collateral in order to facilitate any deal.

It wasn’t clear whether Freyr’s interest was a formal offer, or if EY had accepted it.

Freyr’s spokesperson said that the company does not comment on speculation or rumours. A spokesperson for EY declined to comment on the identity of current bidders.

Two sources claimed that Freyr had in the past considered Britishvolt as an option, but it had never materialized.

According to a third source, a former Britishvolt executive was considering making an approach for assets.

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