Livent expects lower profit in 2020 on weak lithium prices

Livent’s battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate. Image courtesy of Livent Corp

U.S. lithium producer Livent Corp reported an 87% fall in quarterly adjusted profit on Thursday and said it expects a drop in 2020 profit, hit by a downturn in prices of the metal used in rechargeable batteries.

The company forecast 2020 adjusted earnings per share of 18 cents to 31 cents, and said it expects higher costs from using up to 5,000 tons of additional third-party lithium carbonate.

“Despite another record year of lithium compound demand, pricing has been severely impacted by oversupply conditions. Lithium producers and resource developers are responding to this by reducing output and delaying or canceling capacity expansion projects,” Chief Executive Officer Paul Graves said.

Adjusted net income attributable to Livent’s shareholders fell to $7.9 million, or 5 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $61.1 million, or 42 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell to $78.4 million from $119.8 million.

Rival Albemarle Corp, which is also the world’s largest lithium producer, reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday and forecast a double-digit drop in 2020 earnings on weak prices for the battery metal.

(By Arundhati Sarkar; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Shailesh Kuber)

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