British electrical automotive battery startup is now contemplating itemizing in London

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(Bloomberg) – Britishvolt Ltd., about to build the UK’s first giant battery factory, is considering listing on the London Stock Exchange to fund the £ 2.6 billion ($ 3.6 billion) project, That is the key to helping the nation reduce CO2 emissions from transport.

A decision about listing in London or New York will be made within three months, Orral Nadjari, founder and CEO of Britishvolt, said in an interview. The company should decide by the end of June whether to list in the US through a merger with a special purpose vehicle or SPAC, but it has chosen to postpone that deadline.

London is now more appealing to Britishvolt after revising the listing rules to bolster the city’s post-Brexit financial hub status. In a report this year, Jonathan Hill, a former UK financial services commissioner for the European Union, recommended introducing two-tier participation to give entrepreneurs more voting rights and reduce the amount of equity a company must sell to outsiders.

“Britishvolt belongs on the London Stock Exchange,” said Nadjari. “At the end of the Hill report, we now see more opportunities in the UK.”

The UK bans the sale of new gasoline and diesel powered cars until 2030 and needs a factory to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles. Sales of electric vehicles – both battery-electric and plug-in hybrid models – more than doubled in Europe last year to around 1.3 million units, and are thus above China for the first time.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is trying not to fall behind in a transcontinental competition for dominance by Asian battery manufacturers and Tesla Inc. Johnson has pledged £ 1 billion to help build factories that can manufacture batteries on a large scale.

“Britishvolt offers the opportunity to become a new champion in this current industrial revolution,” said Nadjari.

Britishvolt, based in Blyth, will begin construction in the north-east of England later this month, Nadjari said. The site will use hydropower from Norway as well as wind power from the North Sea and could be online by 2023.

The company has signed letters of intent and joint development agreements with several auto companies, but Nadjari declined to provide further details.

Barclays Plc is advising Britishvolt and the battery manufacturer would like a direct or technical listing similar to that used by digital payment provider Wise Plc last week. Barclays served as chief financial advisor on this transaction, which was London’s largest technology float.

A reduction in the number of stocks required to go public is one of the most recent changes to the LSE that Nadjari appeals most. He is the largest shareholder, followed by William Harrison, CEO of private equity firm Cathexis Holdings LP.

If everything goes according to plan, Britishvolt could go public by the end of the second quarter of next year, and Nadjari said he expects to announce some direct orders from auto companies by the end of June. After that, he plans to start issuing green bonds.

“We are still actively analyzing the stock market and doing due diligence on various occasions,” said Nadjari.

It already faces some domestic competition after Nissan Motor Co. announced earlier this month that it would create a $ 1.4 billion hub for manufacturing electric vehicles in northern England. The Japanese automaker is working with a battery maker subsidiary of China’s Envision Group to build a factory that won’t be ready until 2024 at the earliest.

The UK government’s funding agency – the Automotive Transformation Fund – can support two huge battery factories. Some funding was allocated to the Nissan project, but the companies and the government wouldn’t say how much. Britishvolt has applied for funding and is waiting for an answer.

Nadjari aims to offset £ 1 billion of equity and £ 1 billion of green bonds that will cover the first phase of the UK project and allow the company to focus on building another giant battery factory in Canada.

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