Gigafactory firm ‘aims to find buyer within five weeks’

Britishvolt’s financial advisers have been given five weeks to find a buyer for its £3.8bn battery-factory project, it has been reported.

According to the Times, investment bank Lazard – acting on behalf of Britishvolt – has been given a deadline to find private equity investment from the US in the short term “in lieu of” a long-term deal with Korean or Chinese battery or automotive companies.

Contractor ISG was chosen to deliver the £300m design and build contract to construct the factory in Cambois, near Blyth in Northumberland. However, construction was paused in August this year when a project redesign was announced. ISG’s owner, William Harrison, became a non-executive director of Britishvolt last year.

Last week, Britishvolt dodged administration after one of its backers – reported to be the commodity and mining company Glencore – stepped in with “near-term funding”. Its 300 employees also took a temporary pay cut for the month of November.

In the lead-up to that, the company said that the government had refused a request to supply it with £30m of funding. This was due to the fact that Britishvolt had not delivered on the progress milestones needed to unlock the cash.

Indian carmaker Tata Motors and Slovakian battery company InoBat were said to be in investment talks when it was reported that a £200m funding lifeline was needed in mid-October to keep the business running until Christmas.

Questions around funding first surfaced when the Guardian accessed leaked documents that said the project was on “life support” in August.

Britishvolt said it was not company policy to comment on market speculation.

Lazard has been approached for comment.

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