The founder of Britishvolt, Lars Carlstrom, said he has no doubt the company will be bought up and that a Gigafactory will be built on its site in Blyth, England. It collapsed into administration a fortnight ago after running out of money.
Carlstrom told BEST he hears in the market that “many serious players are interested in the company”. He is in no doubt it will be snapped up and that a Gigafactory will still be built in Blyth.
Dan Hurd of the Turnaround and Restructuring team at administrators EY-Parthenon has been asked to comment.
Reports suggest Greybull Capital, the private equity group associated with British Steel which collapsed in 2019, are in the frame. Other bidders are though to include FREYR Battery and Aker of Norway.
Carlstrom declined to name names in the process but potential buyers are circling and the price tag will reflect that, he said.
He added there was uncertainty in government circles about the way Britishvolt was managed – a big workforce of 300, development of its own technology but without the necessary substantial financial backing for such an undertaking.
Government support running to an agreed £100 million was too little for a project estimated at up to £3.8 billion, he said, and thinks it should have been more like £300-500 million to help make it take off.
He ruled out any return to the company he founded in December 2019 and left in January 2021 after disagreement over strategy. “For me it’s too infected. I’m actually the founder of the company and with all this quite bad publicity Britishvolt had and also linked with this tax story (he was convicted of tax fraud in Sweden, which he said was an accountant’s error, ed.), I don’t think it’s a good play for me to enter into this stage now.
Many serious players
“And I see there are many serious players who are very interested in the company. I mean important players. I think the outcome in the next few days will be very interesting to follow.
“I think the perception of Gigafactories has changed. For sure, this has not been good for any one of us when it comes to financing these projects because many become worried about the situation with Britishvolt. But they need to understand you can’t mix apples and pears in this way. It’s also going to show it’s huge interest and very serious companies are bidding for it.”
He said the land owned by Britishvolt is valuable. “It’s the best site in the UK, or one of the best in Europe, I would say. It’s also close to the Nissan factory.” It has building planning permission, something few European Gigafactories have yet.
He said he’s “100% sure there will be a Gigafactory in Blyth…If it’s called Britishvolt or Samsung or something else, I don’t know, but there will be a Gigafactory there, definitely…It’s a no brainer. Someone will pick it up.”