Specialty chemicals firm Albemarle Corp. announced Thursday that its subsidiary, Albemarle Lithium UK Ltd., entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the outstanding equity of Guangxi, China-based lithium converter Guangxi Tianyuan New Energy Materials Co. Ltd.
The company will pay $200 million to acquire the equity from the Chinese entity’s shareholders, though the sum is subject to certain adjustments.
“The acquisition of Tianyuan, which owns and operates a newly constructed lithium processing plant, aligns with our strategy to pursue profitable growth in line with customer demand,” Albemarle CEO Kent Masters said in a company release. “This will be a key component of our next wave of projects designed to increase our conversion capacity in a capital-efficient manner in the coming years. As the global transition to cleaner energy rapidly develops, this added lithium capacity will enable us to help our customers achieve their growth and sustainability ambitions.”
Located near the Port of Qinzhou in Guangxi, Tianyuan’s processing facility has an annual conversion capacity of up to 25,000 mt LCE and also houses production assets for lithium hydroxide and battery-grade lithium carbonate. The site is being commissioned and will commence commercial production in the first half of 2022.
Albemarle anticipates the transaction will close early next year.
Powder & Bulk Solids reported this January that Albemarle plans to invest between $30 million and $50 million to expand lithium carbonate production at its Silver Peak, NV facility in response to increased demand for electric vehicles (EVs).
Market research firm Technavio forecasts that the lithium carbonate market will grow at a CAGR of about 11% from 2019 to 2023.