By Nick Carey
LONDON (Reuters) – UK battery startup Britishvolt said on Monday it is in talks with a consortium of investors about selling a majority stake in the company, but did not disclose any names.
The company said back in November that it had received short-term financial backing to help it stay afloat. It said the latest discussions were aimed at providing the “long-term sustainability and funding necessary to enable it to pursue” developing and manufacturing batteries in Britain.
“The two parties will provide further details at the appropriate time and have nothing further to add at this stage,” Britishvolt said.
Britishvolt has outlined plans for a 3.8 billion pound ($4.6 billion) 38 gigawatt-hour (GWh) plant in Blyth in England’s industrial north to build electric vehicle (EV) batteries and last year gained 100 million pounds in government backing – albeit payable only after construction began.
Britishvolt had received backing from mining group Glencore, which kicked off a funding round for the startup last February.
The British government under former prime minister Boris Johnson had touted Britishvolt’s project as a major milestone toward building an EV industry as the country heads toward a ban on combustion engine cars in 2030.
But as of last summer, Britishvolt said it had only raised around 200 million pounds and pushed back its production timeline citing “difficult external economic headwinds.”
While Britishvolt is small, the site that it owns at Blyth is considered by industry experts to be Britain’s best “shovel-ready” location for a battery factory, with plenty of renewable power available.
The plant already has planning permission and local political support, meaning that an investor with enough financial backing could build a factory relatively quickly.
Auto industry executives have said that without local battery production, much of Britain’s car industry could shift overseas.
($1 = 0.8241 pounds)
(Reporting By Nick Carey. Editing by Jane Merriman)