Britishvolt explores US fundraising for $3.6 bln battery gigafactory

Britishvolt, a United Kingdom-based lithium-ion battery producer, has initiated fundraising plans in the United States to support its gigaplant project in Northumberland, UK, it said on Thursday April 1.

The company aims to raise £300 million-350 million ($413 million-482 million) by the end of the summer and to start production at its Blyth, Northumberland plant in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Britishvolt has appointed investment management company Guggenheim Capital and Barclays as its advisors on the fundraising plans, which includes a US listing through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

SPACs are an increasingly popular fundraising mechanism that involves forming a company specifically for the purpose of raising money through an initial public offering, and then buying or merging with a private company. This would make the latter entity a publicly listed one without going through the traditional IPO process.

The fundraising plans follow Bristishvolt’s announcement in December 2020 that it will set up the UK’s first battery gigaplant in Blyth. Investment needed for the factory was set at £2.6 billion.

“By the final phase of the project in 2027 it will be employing up to 3,000 highly skilled people, producing over 300,000 lithium-ion batteries for the UK automotive industry. It will further provide up to 5,000 jobs in the wider supply chain,” the company said in December.

Britishvolt’s agenda has been boosted recently by the UK government’s plans to ban the sale of internal combustion engine cars by 2030.

While it does not have any agreements set with automotive companies in the UK, it entered a technology collaboration with Siemens Plc, through which it would be able to access Siemens’ automation and electrification solutions to speed up its production capabilities.

“Britishvolt is firmly aligned with the UK government’s plans towards net-zero and the levelling up agenda. It has easy access to renewable energy, a vital ingredient for a successful energy transition,” chief executive officer Orral Nadjari said.

“Britishvolt, and its shareholders, see the SPAC market as maturing, with some of the froth having now coming out. This is leading to increased due diligence by banks and by environmental, social and governance (ESG)-savvy investors. Britishvolt is an excellent proposition for a potential SPAC owing to its market positioning and the hunger from the investment community for robust ESG business plans,” he added.

Other companies to have announced their listings through SPACs include Norwegian battery-maker Freyr, which announced at the end of January that it would go public on the New York Stock Exchange via an SPAC at a value of $1.4 billion.

In February, Reuters reported that US-based Li-Cycle would also be going public through an SPAC merger with Peridot Acquisition Corp. The new company, Li-Cycle Holdings Corp, will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has been valued at $1.67 billion.

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