Firm to build UK £ 4bn gigafactory ready for London IPO | Automobile industry

Britishvolt, the startup aiming to build the UK’s first ‘gigafactory’ making batteries for electric cars, is set to choose London over New York for a float next year after being encouraged by planned reforms by the chancellor of the stock exchange listing rules.

The company, which recently secured investments from global commodities trader Glencore, plans to invest up to £ 4 billion in building a large-scale North Sea battery plant in the Northumberland, in the North East of England, to serve the electric vehicle and energy storage market.

Although he has yet to secure any customers for its batteries, which are at the prototype stage, chairman Peter Rolton said the company is closing in on a float, with London now the most likely host.

“You know what, we’re a UK company and our preference would be the London Stock Exchange,” Rolton said. “This is the right house for us.”

Britishvolt was expected to be listed in the United States through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, or Spac, a cash-rich company looking to invest in a promising company.

Rolton said Britishvolt, which is advised by Barclays, could “not rule anything out” with several US Spacs reportedly interested in marketing the company.

But Rolton said proposed changes to UK stock listing rules, via two reviews commissioned by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, helped put London ahead of New York as the most likely hotbed for the firm’s plan to enter. in stock exchange.

The Treasury wants to get more tech companies to register in London by changing the city’s rules to make fundraising more efficient and faster, as well as increasing the participation of retail investors. The UK is also exploring measures, proposed in a Lord Hill review, that could allow company founders to retain more control.

“From what the advisers tell me, it helps,” Rolton said, referring to the planned rule changes.

The US has often proven to be more attractive to tech startups, as it already allows many of the fundraising mechanisms the UK is currently considering.

Britishvolt founder and CEO Orral Nadjari said in June that the company would choose where it floats within three months, indicating that a final decision could be imminent.

Nadjari founded the company in 2019, but suffered a setback a year later when it emerged that his co-founder and then president of the company, Lars Carlstrom, had already been convicted of tax evasion.

Despite being based near Nissan’s massive auto plant in Sunderland, the Japanese automaker did not choose to work with Britishvolt, instead announcing plans this summer for a billion pound electric vehicle hub. sterling which includes the expansion of an existing battery plant adjacent to its site.

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Britishvolt has yet to announce a construction contractor, although it is expected to do so before the end of the year. The company is also hoping to secure a grant from the government’s Automotive Transformation Fund, with recipients likely to be announced in a few weeks.

Rolton said Glencore’s investment, which is not disclosed, shows Britishvolt to be a “serious and investable business”, adding that a successful British battery maker could help the UK achieve its decarbonization ambitions without depending on imports, using a national supply chain.

“I want to produce a battery that doesn’t rely on components from Asia, from China,” he said. “We want to do everything internally and locally. “

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