China's Tianqi bids C$806 mln for Talison Lithium

Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:02am EST
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Nov 19 (Reuters) - China's Chengdu Tianqi Industry Group Co said on Monday it made a formal takeover offer for Talison Lithium Ltd, valuing the lithium producer at C$806 million ($803.31 million) and topping a friendly deal with Rockwood Holdings Inc.

The C$7.15-a-share offer, made through Tianqi subsidiary Windfield Holdings Pty, is 65 Canadian cents a share higher than the bid from Rockwood, a U.S.-based chemical producer, which valued Talison at C$724 million.

Closely held Tianqi said last week it had tied up a 15 percent stake in the miner and was planning to make an offer, boosting Talison's stock.

The company's shares rose nearly 2 percent to C$7.18 on Monday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock has gained more than 68 percent since Aug. 22, the day before the Rockwood deal became public.

Talison, which owns the Greenbushes lithium project in Western Australia, produces hard rock lithium, primarily for export to China.

Tianqi, a longtime Talison customer, is the world's largest hard rock lithium converter and makes a variety of raw materials for the battery industry.

Demand for lithium batteries has risen in recent years on the surging market for smartphones, portable electronics, and hybrid and electric vehicles.