Britishvolt’s Australian buyers miss payment deadline

An Australian battery start-up firm has failed to make the final payment for its acquisition of Britishvolt, according to administrators at EY.

David Collard purchased the collapsed battery manufacturer out of administration in February in a deal worth £8.57m with his firm Recharge Industries, which is ultimately owned by US investment company Scale Facilitation.

Now, EY says the final instalment, which was due on April 5, remains unpaid and overdue, leaving Recharge Industries in default of the sale agreement.

It is also estimated by EY, that total unsecured creditor claims may be in the region of £130m to £160m with South West firm DC Energy being owed £26.6m. It had a deal with Britishvolt to supply manufacturing gear worth £86m.

Recharge Industries told “The timing of the final instalment to the Administrator is linked to a funding facility which when closed, will also cover the cost of the land acquisition and provide additional working capital for the project. The financier is in direct contact with the counterparties and we anticipate to close in August following a period of significant due diligence. We dispute we are in default of the BSA.

“Closing out the transaction will allow for the allocation of highly valuable intellectual property and binding customer orders to fast track the UK project.”

In June, police raided the Australian shared offices of Scale Facilitation and another business owned by Collard – SaniteX, over alleged tax fraud.

According to The Australian, which first reported on the raid, staff at Scale Facilitation had gone unpaid in recent weeks.

Britishvolt which was named a “pioneering” firm by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, currently owes HMRC nearlu £3m and its former employees £280k. It went into administration in January making nearly £200m redundant, after failing to secure sufficient equity investment for both the ongoing research it was undertaking and the development of a £200m site in the Midlands and a £3.8bn gigafactory in the North East of England.

In EY’s update on Britishvolt, it also said in the event that the company moves into creditors’ voluntary liquidation, the liquidators will be Diana Frangou and Christopher John Lewis of RSM UK Restructuring Advisory, if EY makes “sufficient realisations to allow a distribution to be made to…unsecured non-preferential creditors”.

Recharge Industries has been contacted for comment.