Greybull gives chase to Britishvolt

Greybull Capital, the private equity group linked to the 2019 collapse of British Steel, has emerged as a potential late bidder for Britishvolt.

Executives from the controversial buyout group met with management at the defunct battery startup on Monday to discuss proposals after they were recently brought up as a possible savior, according to two people with direct knowledge of the process.

Britishvolt, which had ambitions to build Britain’s largest battery factory, collapsed under administration two weeks ago after the ailing company ran out of money and a last-minute bailout deal was blocked by its creditors.

EY administrators have asked bidders to submit firm offers by 5 p.m. Wednesday and are urging the deal to close by the end of the week, the people said. Greybull is considering making a definitive offer, the people added.

The company and EY declined to comment.

Greybull, which was founded more than a decade ago and describes its investment approach in this way “entrepreneurial and responsible”, is most closely linked to the collapse of the airlines Monarch and British Steel.

When Monarch halted trading overnight while in Greybull’s possession in 2017, the government was forced to arrange the repatriation of some 100,000 stranded travelers – the largest British repatriation since World War II.

During his time as head of British Steel, Greybull was hailed as the savior after taking over one of the UK’s last two steel mills for a symbolic £1 in 2016. The deal with India’s Tata saved more than 4,000 jobs and kept the company’s massive Scunthorpe site open.

British Steel went bankrupt just three years later after talks with the government over a £30m state bailout collapsed.

His demise at the time sparked widespread criticism of the group’s leadership. Greybull has previously defended his approach to supporting the business plans and management teams of companies “undergoing transformation”.

A handful of other potential buyers for Britishvolt are already lined up, including Australian battery group Recharge Industries, Indonesia-linked fund DeaLab, and there is an offer from a small group of Britishvolt shareholders.

On Monday, the FT reported that Britishvolt founder Orral Nadjari, who was ousted as chief executive last summer, is also preparing a bid for the company.

Applicants for the company are divided over whether they want the group’s early-stage battery technology, which will require more funding to commercialize, and its factory site, a 93-acre site in Blyth in Northumberland.

According to two people, EY is currently trying to sell the company as a whole rather than splitting it up to speed up the process.

Any buyer of the Blyth property is bound by agreements on the property that dictate the construction of a battery factory within a specified timeframe.

If EY does not find a buyer for the whole business within the next few days, the property will be sold separately in a separate proceeding by Begbies Traynor, the receiver for Britishvolt’s secured creditor. Greybull gives chase to Britishvolt

Adam Bradshaw

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