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Britishvolt in takeover talks with new investors

Time and date:2010-12-5 17:23:32  author:Press center9   source:Press center 1  view:  comment:0
Content summary:The plans for an electric vehicle battery factory in Northumberland have been beset by delays. part-time

An investment firm with links to Indonesia could take control of the UK battery start-up Britishvolt in a deal believed to be worth nearly £160m.

The company is understood to be in talks with DeaLab Group - a UK-based investment group run by Indonesian banker Reza Hendranto.

A so-called gigafactory is planned for near Blyth, Northumberland, with the promise of 3,000 jobs.

Britishvolt said it was "in discussions with a consortium of investors".

It said the talks concerned the "potential majority sale of the company" in a move that would allow it to push ahead with the constructing the factory.

It is believed a deal with DeaLab could see it make an initial investment of £30m, followed by a further £128m.

Shareholders have been given until Friday to accept or reject the offer - with 75% approval needed if the deal is to go ahead.

However, it would mean existing shareholders, including the mining giant Glencore and the industrial equipment group Ashtead, would see their stakes heavily diluted.

The £4bn gigafactory - which would supply batteries for electric vehicles - has been delayed several times and has struggled to cope with rising costs.

Last year, Britishvolt narrowly avoided going into administration after running out of money, before existing investors stepped in with extra support.

The project has been promised £100m in government funding from the Automotive Transformation Fund, but this is conditional on project "milestones" being met.

Battery packs are major components of electric cars and represent a significant chunk of their value.

Experts have said gigafactories will be vital for the future of the British car industry, as petrol and diesel-powered vehicles are phased out.

However, aside from the Britishvolt project only one such factory is under construction in the UK. It is being build by Japanese firm Envision adjacent to Nissan's car plant in Sunderland.

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