The government will look “seriously” at any bid to save collapsed electric battery business BritishVolt, a minister has said, following an 11th-hour rescue bid by an Australian start-up.
Business Minister Nusrat Ghani told the Commons that the Government was committed to an industrial site in Northumberland.
It comes after Recharge Industries said it lodged a takeover bid late on Tuesday for BritishVolt, which had plans to build a £3.8 billion gigafactory to make batteries at its Cambois site.
BritishVault collapsed into administration a week ago, making the majority of its nearly 300 workers redundant.
In the Commons, Ms Ghani said: “It’s a great site. All the ingredients are in play. I can’t comment on what’s being speculated in the press, but I can confirm that any credible options go forward, that we will certainly take them very seriously. we will take
“We are very committed to the site … this Government is determined to make that site work for Blyth for the whole of the United Kingdom.”
Labor MP Ian Lavery welcomed the news of Recharge’s rescue bid, as he led an adjourned debate on the matter at the end of Wednesday’s Commons sitting.
The Wansbeck MP, whose constituency is home to the Cambois site, said: “It’s very encouraging. Also reports in the press this morning say there are 12 other companies that have shown interest, which again is really encouraging and let’s hope something can happen. “
He added: “We can’t have another false dawn, we can’t have another British Vault, where projects of this magnitude, land, planning, everywhere, the government turns cold and backs away from supporting our regions.”
BritishVault appointed administrators to EY after failing to raise enough cash to fund its research and development of its Cambodia site.
The company’s failure came after months of trouble as the company struggled to raise enough money to operate.
Last week, administrators at EY said: “The joint administrators are evaluating options to realize potential value in the company’s business and assets, including intellectual property and R&D assets, for the benefit of creditors.
“The administrators will subsequently implement the orderly winding up and winding down of the company’s affairs, as necessary.”
However on Wednesday, Recharge told The Australian Financial Review it had made a non-binding takeover offer.
Recharge, which is backed by New York investment firm Scale Facilitation, is moving ahead with plans to build a similar battery factory in Geelong, near Melbourne.
David Collard, Scale Facilitation’s Geelong-born founder and chief executive, said the acquisition of the British business would make strategic sense.
He said: “Strengthening our friends in the UK, especially when most others are kicking them, is in our interests and certainly in the spirit of the (Australia-UK-US security agreement).”