Tianqi to take 20% stake in Rockwood
Published: Thursday, 15 December 2016
The Chinese lithium producer will exercise an option to buy a minority share in the subsidiary of its US competitor Albemarle.
Tianqi Lithium Corp. has given notice that it will acquire a
20% interest in Rockwood Lithium GmbH, a subsidiary of
Albemarle Corp., through the exercise of an option.
The move will give the Chinese lithium supplier an indirect
interest in Germany-based Rockwood, which is currently wholly
owned by its US counterpart. Albemarle will continue to hold
the controlling interest, however.
In a statement, Albemarle noted that the Rockwood entity
currently manages a portfolio of downstream products, including
organolithiums such as butyllithium, which are manufactured at
its facility in Langelsheim, Germany.
It stressed that in exercising the option Tianqi will not
gain "any material interest" in Albemarle’s
lithium-based battery and energy storage business, its lithium
reserves and operations in South America, the US or Australia,
or its pending lithium hydroxide and carbonate asset
acquisition in China, all of which it said are owned outside of
the German entity.
The option stems from a 2013 agreement between Rockwood
– before its purchase by Albemarle – and
Tianqi, under which Rockwood gained a 49% stake in Windfield
Holdings Pty Ltd, the owner-operator of the Talison spodumene
mine in Western Australia.
Albemarle bought Rockwood in January 2015 for $6.2bn in cash
and shares. At present Talison remains jointly owned by
Albemarle and Tianqi, on a 49:51 basis.
Tianqi’s investment in Rockwood is expected to
close in H1 2017, subject to various conditions.