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Codelco wins shareholder approval to secure first lithium asset

23rd January 2024

By: Bloomberg

  

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Codelco, the world’s biggest copper producer, won approval to buy Lithium Power International after shareholders of the Australian junior voted in favor of a takeover that diversifies the Chilean miner’s portfolio of key energy transition metals.

Shareholders on Tuesday agreed almost unaninmously to greenlight the acquisition of the Sydney-based company in a deal that values it at A$385-million. The purchase is Codelco’s first in lithium as the state-owned firm targets Lithium Power’s project in the Maricunga salt flat of northern Chile.

Codelco has been tapped to represent the Chilean state in a new public-private model for lithium as President Gabriel Boric looks to open up new areas for production to meet growing demand from the EV boom. The South American nation is the biggest lithium supplier after Australia but has lost market share with output restricted to two companies on a single flat.

The relatively seamless nature of the deal is in contrast to a string of failed takeovers for Australian lithium juniors in the latter half of 2023.

Billionaire entrepreneurs and mining tycoons gatecrashed a series of deals, including Albemarle’s A$6.6-billion bid for Liontown Resources, which collapsed in October after iron-ore magnate Gina Rinehart built a near-20% blocking stake.

A total of 99.5% of Lithium Power shareholders were in favor of the takeover, the company said a statement on Tuesday. Owners of the company’s stock will receive A$0.57 in cash per share, a premium of 119% to the “undisturbed” closing share price on Sept. 26.

The takeover faces a final confirmation at a court hearing scheduled for next month.

Edited by Bloomberg

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