(Yicai Global) Sept. 30 -- Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology outbid compatriot rival Ganfeng Lithium to acquire a Canadian lithium ore miner for CAD377 million (USD296 million).
The acquisition of Millennial Lithium, which owns two world-class lithium salt lake projects in Argentina, will further ensure the long-term and stable supply of the raw material, Ningde-based CATL announced yesterday. Ganfeng said it offered CNY24 million (USD3.7 million) less than CATL.
CATL has been buying stakes in global lithium resources to consolidate supply of the key raw material used in batteries. It has already bought into Canadian mineral resources titan Neo Lithium, North American Nickel, and Australia’s Pilbara Minerals. Suzhou-based Tianhua Times New Energy Industry Investment, a CATL unit, also invested USD240 million in the Manono project in southwestern Congo on Sept. 27.
CATL has topped the world for installed capacity of power batteries for over four consecutive years, and achieved a market share of almost 30 percent in the first half of the year, according to SNE Research.
But rising commodity prices are eating into profits at power battery makers. The price of lithium hexafluorophosphate, a major electrolyte material, has jumped over six-fold to CNY450,000 (USD69,550) a ton this month from less than CNY70,000 (USD10,820) last July.
CATL’s gross profit growth rate for its power battery business fell 3.5 percentage points to 23 percent in the first half from a year earlier, according to its first-half earnings results.
CATL also announced on Sept. 13 that it will expand its lithium battery output by building a USD2.1 billion new production base in Yichun. The city in China’s Jiangxi province has the world’s largest reserve of lepidolite, the most abundant lithium-bearing mineral, amounting to around 2.5 million tons of lithium oxide.
Editor: Futura Costaglione