China’s Ganfeng Lithium is unlikely to match a competing offer for Millennial Lithium, according to people familiar with the matter.
The lithium producer is not keen to enter a bidding war for Vancouver-based Millennial, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Contemporary Amperex Technology, the world’s largest electric-car battery maker, is the unnamed suitor behind a C$377-million offer, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.
Millennial’s assets have also attracted interest from China Molybdenum, which could consider joining CATL in a bid, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.
Deliberations are ongoing, there is no guarantee that a deal will be reached and Ganfeng could still decide to increase its offer, the people said. Representatives for Ganfeng didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment made on a public holiday in China. A representative for Millennial declined to comment.
The competition for the Canadian company, which focuses on lithium brine projects in Argentina, has intensified as Chinese companies race to secure supplies of a mineral that’s key to making electric-vehicle batteries.
Ganfeng posted a record profit in the first half, and has been on an acquisition spree as the lithium market tightens. The company, which has stakes in mining operations in locations including Argentina, Australia and China, recently made new investments in projects in Mexico and Mali.
Canada’s Millennial has 4.12-million tons of measured and indicated lithium carbonate equivalent, according to a June presentation.
Millennial said Sept. 8 it had received an unsolicited, non-binding proposal of C$3.85 a share from a foreign lithium battery production company it didn’t name. That offer surpassed the C$3.60 per share that Ganfeng would pay to acquire Millennial, according to an announcement it made in July.
The Canadian-listed miner said earlier it had notified Ganfeng that it considered the new offer a superior proposal and gave the Chinese company until Sept. 27 to amend its existing agreement.