Administrators have selected a rival battery start-up based in Australia as preferred bidder for collapsed Britishvolt.
EY confirmed on Monday morning that its team had chosen Recharge Industries – owned by US investment firm Scale Facilitation Partners – to acquire the “majority of the business and assets” of Britishvolt following its demise last month.
The UK firm threw in the towel in mid-January after months of funding problems, resulting in more than 200 job losses.
The failure cast a huge cloud over the prospects for a UK manufacturer of batteries to power electric vehicles.
It was unclear, at this stage, exactly what Recharge had agreed to buy but its planned purchase included the proposed gigafactory site at Blyth in Northumberland.
David Collard, chief executive of Scale Facilitation and founder of Recharge, said: “We’re thrilled to be progressing with our proposed bid for Britishvolt and can’t wait to get started making a reality of our plans to build the UK’s first gigafactory.
“After a competitive and rigorous process, we’re confident our proposal will deliver a strong outcome for all involved.”
It is understood that 26 members of staff, who were retained during the administration process, will be kept on by the new owner.
Recharge indicated it could not comment yet on its wider employment plans and whether it would seek to rehire those who were made redundant.
EY said of the preferred bidder decision: “This follows a process conducted by EY that involved the consideration of multiple approaches from interested parties and numerous offers received.
“Completion of the acquisition is expected to occur within the next seven days.”
Recharge is already planning to open a factory in Geelong, Australia next year.
Britishvolt had intended to manufacture power cells for 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs a year, eventually employing 3,000 people, but its financial support was highly conditional.
The £3.8bn gigafactory project was backed by £1.7bn of private funding but that was subject to government support.
While £100m had been secured from the Automotive Transformation Fund, that money remained locked because Britishvolt was deemed to have missed key targets.