LONDON -- Britishvolt, the UK startup which struggled to raise funds for an major electric vehicle battery factory in northern England, filed for administration on Tuesday in a blow to the country's hopes of building a home-grown battery industry.
Britishvolt's failure marks a step back for Britain's car sector as industry officials and experts see domestic EV battery plants as essential to keep UK car production from shifting to mainland Europe.
Britishvolt had been in talks with potential buyers after securing a short-term funding lifeline in November to help keep it afloat.
Competing bids of around 30 million pounds ($36.8 million) from three early investors versus Indonesia-linked investment fund DeaLab Group were rejected by Britishvolt's creditors.
"We remained hopeful that Britishvolt would find a suitable investor and are disappointed to hear that this has not been possible," Britain's business department said in a statement.
The department said it would continue to work with local authorities and potential investors to secure the best outcome for the site.
A team from accounting firm Ernst & Young's restructuring arm EY-Parthenon have been appointed as administrators.
The administrators said Britishvolt had gone into administration "due to insufficient equity investment" for its ongoing research and development of its sites."
A majority of Britishvolt's 300 staff were told on Tuesday they were being made laid off with immediate effect, two sources familiar with the matter said.
"The news that Britishvolt is filing for administration is deeply disappointing, and a blow to the UK’s transition to cleaner, cheaper transport," said Ben Nelmes, chief executive of British transport research firm New Automotive.
Best 'shovel-ready' location
Britishvolt had previously outlined ambitious plans for a 3.8 billion pound ($4.65 billion) 38 gigawatt-hour plant in England's industrial north to build electric vehicle batteries.