Nov 1 (Reuters) - Lithium Americas Corp
made a $400 million stock-and-cash offer for Argentina-focused
lithium developer Millennial Lithium Corp on Monday,
seeking to outbid China's Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd
(CATL) for a promising source of the ultra-light
The bidding war comes amidst surging demand for lithium ion
batteries used to power electric vehicles (EVs), with many
global automakers planning to have fully electric fleets https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/eu-proposes-effective-ban-new-fossil-fuel-car-sales-2035-2021-07-14
by 2035. There are not enough global lithium projects under
development, though, to meet that target.
Millennial's Pastos Grandes lithium project in Argentina is
"an asset that we see a lot of value in, and we feel we can
unlock that value," Jon Evans, the Lithium Americas chief
executive, told Reuters.
The company's experience building the Cauchari https://www.reuters.com/article/lithium-americas-ganfeng-lithium-idCNL1N2A704J
lithium project with Ganfeng Lithium Co near Pastos
Grandes should be appealing to Millennial's shareholders, Evans
said. CATL, the world's largest EV battery manufacturer https://www.reuters.com/technology/chinas-catl-looks-raise-9-bln-expand-lithium-ion-battery-production-2021-08-13,
does not produce lithium.
Lithium Americas is also developing the Thacker Pass https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/native-americans-lose-bid-halt-digging-nevada-lithium-mine-site-2021-09-03
lithium mine in Nevada. That and Cauchari will remain the
company's focus, with Millennial a "potential future
development," Evans said.
Each Millennial shareholder would receive C$4.70 ($3.80) per
share, payable in Lithium Americas common shares, and C$0.001 in
cash. Millennial shareholders will own about 9.9% of Lithium
Americas, based on the company's closing price on Friday.
Shares of Millennial rose 27% in Monday morning trading,
while shares of Lithium Americas fell about 2%.
A buyout of Millennial would give Lithium Americas an
additional 24,000 tonnes per year of battery-quality lithium
carbonate for 40 years.
The Lithium Americas offer trumped a C$3.85 per share bid
that CATL made in September https://www.reuters.com/article/millennial-lithi-ma-catl/chinese-battery-maker-catl-to-acquire-canadas-millennial-lithium-idUSL4N2QU467,
which in turn had outbid July's offer of C$3.60 per share from
the largest Lithium Americas shareholder.
Evans said he did not see the Lithium Americas offer as
reflective of any broader fight between two Chinese companies
for Argentina lithium assets.
"There's no geopolitical angle at all. We purely look at
this as an exciting future," he said.
Millennial has given CATL until Nov. 16 to revise the offer
to match the proposal from Lithium Americas.
($1 = 1.2378 Canadian dollars)
(Additional reporting by Ruhi Soni in Bengaluru
Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Mark Potter)