World Once-darling Britishvolt battery startup close to collapse

Once-darling Britishvolt battery startup close to collapse

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Oct. 31 (BP) — Britishvolt, a startup battery company that had enjoyed government support under Conservative Party leadership, was expected to fold as early as Monday because of a lack of funding, a lawmaker said.

Britishvolt was founded three years ago and had proposed a massive battery factory for northeast England, earning favor with the government of former center-right British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his fellow Conservatives.

Lithium-ion batteries are quickly emerging as an integral component of the so-called energy transition and a necessity for everything from cordless tools to electric vehicles. The government had pledged around $115 million in financial support to help Britishvolt’s factory along, support it has yet to receive.

Ian Lavery, a parliamentarian and member of the opposition Labor Party, told the BBC the company asked the government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for $35 million to continue.

“The chairman (of the company) informs me that the government have replied overnight (with) Grant Shapps, the new business secretary, saying that they are not prepared to do that and as a consequence it is very likely that Britishvolt will go into administration,” he said.

Separate reporting from The Guardian shows the company is no stranger to difficulties. It halted work on its planned factory in August in an effort to conserve cash. Britishvolt had managed to attract investor capital but struggled to secure enough to move forward in earnest.

The company had blamed the general economic fallout that came as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine for some of its financial difficulties

Jonathan Reynolds, the business secretary for the opposition said the possible bankruptcy is a sign of how poorly the leadership at Downing Street is at managing the economy.

“It is a sight that has become all too familiar — businesses going under, jobs being lost, and investment in the industries of the future going abroad rather than the U.K.,” he said.

Sunak, a member of the ruling Conservative Party and the former treasury secretary, warned shortly after taking office that “difficult decisions” will need to be made to restore stability and confidence in the economy.

His predecessor, Liz Truss, was forced to resign over mishandling the nation’s budget.

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