Britishvolt secures short-term investment

UK battery startup Britishvolt announced it has secured a short-term investment to stay in business and staff will take a temporary pay cut while the firm seeks longer-term funding for its planned gigafactory project at Blyth, Northumberland, which could create up to 3,000 jobs.

Britishvolt did not name the investor, but The Financial Times newspaper reported it is commodities trader Glencore, an existing investor in Britishvolt.

The company said its almost 300 employees have agreed to an unspecified salary reduction for the month of November to further reduce short-term costs.

Britishvolt outlined plans in December 2020 for a £3.8 billion 38 gigawatt-hour (GWh) plant in Blyth to build electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and earlier this year gained £100 million in UK government backing — but that funding is payable after construction begins.

However Britishvolt had raised only £200 million by this summer and pushed back its production timeline, citing “difficult external economic headwinds.”

In a statement, Britishvolt said: “Given the recent speculation concerning the future of Britishvolt, we want to make our situation clear for all our stakeholders.

“We have previously spoken about the need to evolve our business strategy in response to challenging external factors and continue to explore both short- and long-term funding streams that will enable us to deliver on our plans to build a thriving localised, sustainable battery ecosystem based on next-generation cell technology.

“While the weakening economic situation is negatively impacting much business investment at present, at Britishvolt we are continuing to pursue positive ongoing discussions with potential investors.

“In addition, we have also received promising approaches from several more international investors in the past few days.

“The result is we have now secured the necessary near-term investment that we believe enables us to bridge over the coming weeks to a more secure funding position for the future.

“To further reduce our near-term costs, our dedicated employee team has also voluntarily agreed to a temporary salary reduction for the month of November.

“We want to thank our employees, suppliers & investors, for their continuing belief in Britishvolt.

“It is important that Britishvolt is a success not only for the close to 300 employees currently working for the company, but also for the many thousands of jobs we intend to create in the UK as we progress our plans.

“The ‘Britishvolt Effect’ is also of huge strategic importance to UK plc. and the country’s standing on the global battery stage.”