Investment firm eyes up bid for Britishvolt

Private equity investor Greybull Capital is looking at launching a bid for Britishvolt, according to The Financial Times.

The battery startup had been plagued by cash issues, forcing it into administration in January after failing to secure a rescue deal.

The Financial Times says that administrators at EY approached Greybull, due to its prior investments in distressed industrial companies. It is currently in early talks with the firm.

Greybull is best known for its £1 purchase of Tata Steel’s long products division and its transformation into the company now known as British Steel. After returning the firm to profit in 2016, it then liquidated the company three years later. It also purchased a majority stake in Monarch airline in 2014 before that also collapsed.

Britishvolt was aiming to build a £3.8bn gigafactory in Blyth in the north-east, as well as a £200m battery scale up facility with its partner Prologis in the West Midlands. It has made the majority of its 300 staff redundant.

The battery manufacturer was reportedly running out of cash in October, but had avoided collapse and had secured enough backing to stay afloat “short to medium-term”.

The Government had made a £100m commitment to bring forward a £1.7bn sale and leaseback of the Britishvolt property in Blyth, Northumberland, in January 2021.

However, it had withdrawn this offer since it found it would be used for day-to-day operational costs.

The battery firm had been in talks to sell a majority stake to investors, with a £160m deal on the cards with DeaLab Group, a UK-based private equity group ran by Reza Eko Hendranto, an Indonesian banker.

This would however have valued Britishvolt at £32m, a 96% difference from February 2021 when it was valued at just under £800m.

The FT says that Orral Nadjari, who founded the firm in 2019 has submitted a non-binding bid for the company. Nadjari, who was removed as its chief executive last summer, was expected to submit an offer yesterday.

There are several companies expressing interest in the firm such as Recharge industries, an Australian battery startup, alongside Tata who is looking at purchasing the Northumberland site.