The Sun (Malaysia)

Australian lithium company Liontown backs A$6.6b Albemarle bid


Shares of Australia’s Liontown Resources shot up 11.5% after the lithium developer’s board backed yesterday a refreshed A$6.6 billion (RM19.8 billion) bid from Albemarle Corp, the world’s biggest producer of the battery material.

Emerging Australian lithium companies are experienci­ng a surge in buyouts as their lower valuations and cash needs lure some of the world’s top producers of lithium and others racing to secure supplies.

The new cash offer of A$3 a share represents a premium of 14.5% to Liontown’s last close of A$2.62 on Sept 1 and is 20% higher than Albemarle’s offer of A$2.50 a share made in late March that the target had rejected as too low.

“The waiting game looks to have paid off,” Citigroup analysts said.

“We see the offer as bullish for lithium, signalling that the largest producer is keen to secure more supply at a premium, or has a bullish view on long-term price with low jurisdicti­onal risk.”

The offer was Albemarle’s fourth, after it proposed A$2.20 a share on Oct 20 last year and A$2.35 in March, before the rejected offer of A$2.50 was made public.

Yesterday’s news drove Liontown shares to their highest since July 14, to stand at A$2.92.

Liontown said its board intended to unanimousl­y recommend shareholde­rs vote for the new offer in the absence of a superior proposal, and after completion of an independen­t expert’s report to examine the deal.

Albemarle has been granted a limited period of exclusive due diligence as well as to enter into a mutually acceptable scheme implementa­tion deed, Liontown said in a statement.

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