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Fresh blow to Britishvolt: Gigafactory creditor takes step to protect itself should the company fail

After narrowly avoiding administration earlier this month, creditors are looking to protect themselves should the company fail to keep afloat

By Freya Pratty

A rendering of Britishvolt's gigafactory. Photo: Britishvolt.

Embattled gigafactory startup Britishvolt — which is building what is set to be the UK’s largest battery manufacturing facility — is facing fresh woes as its only secured creditor has appointed receivers over part of its assets, the company confirmed to Sifted. 

It’s a sign that the creditor, investment group Katch Fund Solutions, is looking to secure its position should Britishvolt fail to raise enough funding to avoid administration. 

Katch Fund Solutions appointed receivers — brought in to protect a creditors’ position — to the assets of Power by Britishvolt Properties, a subsidiary of Britishvolt, on November 3. Katch has a minority debt interest in the gigafactory site owned by Britishvolt.  

Britishvolt confirmed to Sifted that it is in “positive discussions with the intention of refinancing a payout to the secured creditor.”

Katch Group told Sifted it continues “to actively work together with the management of the company to support a full refinancing of the Katch facility.” 

Britishvolt’s woes

Briitshvolt has been mired in financial difficulties in the last few months. It’s reported to have narrowly avoided administration earlier this month, securing funding to remain afloat for just five more weeks.

Its site in Blyth, in the north east of England, is viewed as one of the best the UK has to offer for manufacturing. Founders from other gigafactory projects are already putting their hats in the ring to take on the site. The former boss of Aston Martin, now chairman of Slovakian battery startup InoBat, was reportedly posed to snap it up. 

The situation is a sharp turn of fate for Britishvolt, which had enjoyed a speedy rise to fame in the first half of 2022. 

In January, it was promised £100m in funding from the UK government — a substantial sum for a direct state investment into a startup — but Britishvolt told Sifted it is yet to receive any of that. It has also received £200m from private markets. But building a gigafactory is hugely capital intensive, and Britishvolt had said it needed £3.8bn to complete the project. 

Last month the company secured an undisclosed amount of short-term funding — saving it from administration in the immediate term — and has continued to petition the government to release some of the promised funds. It has previously stated that rising energy costs in the UK have contributed to its struggles.

Britishvolt is not the only company in Europe trying to build a gigafactory; Sweden’s Northvolt has raised $8bn and has an operational factory.

Freya Pratty is a reporter at Sifted. She tweets from @FPratty and writes our climate tech newsletter you can sign up here. 

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