Since the former employee served a so-called statutory demand on the company, Recharge Industries has 21 days to pay them the outstanding wages. If the debt is not paid within the next three weeks, the former employee would have the right to initiate insolvency proceedings against Recharge.
The Financial Times quotes staff stating that David Collard, the owner of Recharge Industries, repeatedly told employees he was on the verge of securing new investment for Britishvolt.
At the same time, the impasse in the rescue of the British battery start-up and its planned cell factory in Northumberland had already become apparent in August. The BBC cited documents from auditing firm EY that Recharge Industries had not made the final instalment of the total payment of £8.57 million due on 5 April 2023, casting doubt on the entire deal.
In line with this, the FT today cites several employees of Recharge saying they believed Britishvolt may be “trading while insolvent” and said that staff had not been paid for at least four months.
Adding to this was EY, which said last week it “ran a thorough and competitive sales process” and added it was “taking steps to recover” money due from Recharge, according to the FT report.
Recharge also failed to purchase land earmarked by Britishvolt for the factory site at Blyth and would have to raise billions of pounds to build a plant. According to the FT, the landholders have begun looking for new owners.
About 26 employees of Britishvolt joined Recharge, but most have since left.
Collard did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the FT.
Britishvolt had planned to build a £4bn car battery factory in the north-east of England but went into administration in January 2023 after running out of money.
Initially, the project was laden with promise and considered a lifeline for the UK industry, which needs a connection to the supply chains. Only the Chinese company Envision AESC wants to set up cell manufacturing capacity in Britain and construct a large battery factory next to the Nissan plant in Sunderland to supply batteries to Nissan and other carmakers such as JLR. The latter’s parent company, the Indian Tata Group, recently announced that it was considering building a British battery factory, which would make sense given the JLR plants, especially in England. There are also attempts to source lithium from Cornwall.