(Yicai) Sept. 14 -- Leading Chinese lithium miner Tianqi Lithium has invested USD150 million in Smart, the electric vehicle joint venture of carmaking giants Mercedes-Benz and Geely Holding Group, to strengthen collaborations in the new energy industry chain.
“Tianqi Lithium has become the lead investor in Smart’s Series A financing round,” said Tong Xiangbei, chief executive officer of Smart, Chengdu-based Tianqi Lithium announced yesterday. “Both parties have not only reached a financial cooperation but will also take the advantages of the upstream and downstream reaches of the supply chain to create industrial synergy,” Tong added.
“The investment in Smart is the first time Tianqi Lithium has established contact with the most downstream end of the industrial chain,” said Jiang Weiping, founder and chairman of Tianqi Lithium. “This move will further deepen the company’s understanding of the new energy industry chain,” Jiang noted.
On the same day, Tianqi Lithium also signed strategic deals with Mercedes Benz and Geely. The firm will cooperate with Geely Auto on resources, core materials, lithium battery technology research, lightweight materials for new energy vehicles, and software technology development.
However, the deals signed with the two carmakers are not legally binding, Tianqi Lithium noted, adding that they will not significantly impact the firm’s business results.
Tianqi Lithium’s shares [SHE: 002466] were trading down 1.3 percent at CNY56.99 (USD7.83) as of 10.25 a.m. today.
Although lithium prices fell in the first half of the year, Tianqi Lithium believes that the fundamentals of the lithium industry will improve in the next few years on the backdrop of new policies and the development of the NEV industry.
Tianqi Lithium’s net profit shrank 38 percent to CNY6.5 billion (USD890 million) in the six months ended June 30 from a year earlier. Revenue jumped 74 percent to CNY24.8 billion (USD3.4 billion).
Editor: Futura Costaglione