Battery firm Britishvolt is likely to list on the London Stock Exchange as it aims to raise the £1.2bn needed to fund a gigafactory in Northumberland.
The company is hoping to employ 3,000 people directly and support a further 5,000 in the supply chain with a factory at Cambois, near Blyth, that will make lithium-ion batteries to power between 300,000 and 500,000 electric vehicles each year.
Britishvolt acquired the site – the coal yards of the former Blyth Power Station – earlier this year and preparation work has begun on the site ahead of construction of the full factory.
The scheme is dependent on Britishvolt raising the multimillion-pound sum needed to fund its vision, with a Stock Market listing just one of the funding streams being pursued.
The company had previously been investigating a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) vehicle in America as a way of raising funds, while it is also hoping to secure substantial Government backing for the scheme, which would chime with the Conservatives’ ‘levelling up’ agenda, as well as the UK’s drive towards net zero.
Britishvolt chairman Peter Rolton said: “We’ve been considering our options as to what way to go. We did think heavily about a SPAC, but we’ve always felt that if we could do it, the London Stock Exchange was a more natural home. We are Britishvolt, at the end of the day.
“We’ve got both options in play but our preferred one is the London Stock Exchange and that would likely be next year.”
Britishvolt is bidding for Government support through its Automotive Transformation Fund, which today gave support to automotive giant Ford for a £230m to switch its Halewood factory on Merseyside to make electric vehicle components. Nissan and battery partner Envision AESC have also received Government support rumoured at £100m to boost electric vehicle production at Sunderland.
Mr Rolton said shortages and price rises in the construction supply chain had made the project “challenging” in recent weeks, but hadn’t necessitated any changes in the project.
Meanwhile, plans have emerged for a second Britishvolt gigafactory in Canada, which would replicate many of the elements of the planned Northumberland plant.
The company is in talks with a provincial Government over the plans.