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Britishvolt owner’s offices raided by Australian tax police

Britishvolt

Plans for a new battery factory in Northumberland face a setback after Australian police raided the offices of Scale Facilitation and SaniteX who purchased Britishvolt after its collapse. 

The raid was conducted in relation to alleged tax fraud.

Recharge Industries, a subsidiary of Scale Facilitation, acquired Britishvolt earlier this year but has yet to finalize payment for a potential plant site near the Port of Blyth. 

Read More: Britishvolt acquired by Australian firm Recharge Industries

Sources close to Collard said the tax raid stemmed from a misunderstanding of the interaction between US and Australian tax filings, and all parties involved are cooperating.

Recharge Industries, which operates under the ownership of New York-based investment fund Scale Facilitation with offices in Australia, acquired Britishvolt's assets after the company went into administration, despite receiving public support from politicians, including former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

employer

Britishvolt had ambitious plans to construct a £4 billion plant in Cambois near Blyth, Northumberland, aiming to produce batteries for electric vehicles and generate approximately 3,000 skilled jobs. 

Read More: Australian battery maker Recharge Industries wins bid to take over bankrupt Britishvolt

However, the company struggled to turn a profit and ultimately ran out of funds in January.

The deadline for Recharge Industries to complete and pay for the purchase of the Northumberland site has been significantly extended beyond the original date of March 31.

Insiders have confirmed staff wages in Australia went unpaid for approximately two weeks but have since been settled. 

The company remains confident it can secure the necessary funding to finalize the land purchase within the next two to four weeks.

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Recharge is expected to hold a minority shareholding in a new entity called North East Gigafactory Development LLP, with major investors Tritax and Abrdn owning the majority shares. 

Initially, Recharge intended to focus on developing battery storage technology at the site rather than manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles.

According to insiders, the government's enthusiasm for the project has cooled, with reports indicating the Australian owners have not had meetings with Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch or Secretary for Energy Security and Net Zero Grant Shapps.

Although hopes for the prompt commencement of the plant, which could provide thousands of jobs in the North East, have been put on hold, it appears that the owners are still optimistic about reaching a deal for the £4 billion site's development.

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