Britishvolt is expected to enter administration today, having failed in its bid to secure crucial investment.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the BBC reported that a notice will be filed with insolvency courts today. It added that the start-up will hold an all-staff meeting at 12:00pm today to break the news to its circa-300 employees, before making a public announcement.
It comes after the board reportedly decided that there were no viable bids to keep the company afloat. Britishvolt last week entered talks to sell a majority stake in the firm, in an effort to secure long-term sustainability and the funding required to establish its battery-cell R&D and manufacturing business in the UK.
These talks were previously reported to have been held with three investment groups: one linked to Indonesia, with zero link to manufacturing according a previous BBC report; one comprising existing investors; and one last-minute bid from a British consortium.
Any buyout effort – thought to cost around £30 million – had to secure the support of 75% of shareholders to be successful.
Filing for administration would end a long run of problems for the battery start-up, which narrowly avoided collapse in November after securing several million pounds in funding from mining firm Glencore. Combined with a voluntary pay cut for its near-300 staff, this gave Britishvolt sufficient funding to survive until early December.
At the point of insolvency, Britishvolt will cease trading and its management team will be relieved of control by the administrators. Britishvolt could yet be bought out of administration by a third party, though no potential buyer has come forward with an expression of interest.
The company was previously prepared to enter administration after the UK government rejected a request for £30 million in advance funding to prevent its collapse. It had been promised £100m to build its £3.8bn battery gigafactory through the Automotive Transformation Fund, but has not hit the construction milestones required to unlock the cash.
Repeated requests for funding – dwindling in value each time; from £30m to £11.5m and then £3m – sowed doubt in the Government over the company’s viability, reported the BBC.
As previously reported, one of the key issues affecting Britishvolt was that it lost around £3m per month on staff pay, yet isn’t expected to generate revenue until 2025. An exodus of 25 staff since November – mostly senior managers – reported by start-up tracking publication Sifted may help Britishvolt to cut its outgoings. Britishvolt’s spokesperson acknowledged to Autocar that there has been “some attrition of staff”; figures from LinkedIn suggest a 12% reduction in headcount over the past six months.