Talison Lithium backs sweetened bid from Chinese firm

Thu Dec 6, 2012 10:18am EST
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(Reuters) - Talison Lithium Ltd TLH.TO said on Thursday it is now backing a sweetened takeover bid from China's Chengdu Tianqi Industry Group Co, which values the lithium producer at C$847 million ($853.01 million).

Shares of the Perth-based, Toronto-listed miner rose more than 6 percent Thursday morning but were still below the revised Tianqi offer of C$7.50 per share.

The revised bid is higher than Tianqi's earlier offer of C$7.15 per share and 15 percent higher than a competing C$6.50 per share bid from chemical producer Rockwell Holdings Inc ROC.N, which valued Talison at C$724 million.

The Talison board said it now recommends that shareholders accept the Tianqi offer, in the absence of a new bid from Rockwell.

Talison recently completed an expansion at its flagship project in Australia and now has the capacity to produce nearly two-thirds of current global demand for lithium carbonate, which is used in batteries for technology items like smartphones and hybrid cars.

Shares of Talison were up 6.84 percent at C$7.34 Thursday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Julie Gordon; editing by John Wallace)