Chile’s SQM, one of the world’s top lithium miners, reported an almost ten-fold jump in second-quarter net profit late on Wednesday, as demand for the metal used to manufacture electric-vehicle (EV) batteries skyrocketed.
The miner’s net profit was $859.3 million for the quarter, up from $89.8 million a year earlier, but still slightly below a Refinitiv estimate of $876.41 million.
SQM’s revenue more than quadrupled to $2.60 billion, ahead of a Refinitiv estimate of $2.28 billion.
The miner raked in $1.85 billion in lithium sales in the second quarter, versus $163 million a year earlier, it reported.
“We believe lithium demand will grow at least 35% this year compared to last year,” SQM said in the filing to Chile’s stock exchange.
The company expects lithium sales of at least 145,000 metric tonnes this year, up from its previous forecast for 140,000.
Its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) jumped to $1.30 billion, from $200 million a year earlier.
SQM and its competitor American-owned Albemarle Corp have major projects in the works in the Atacama salt flats, used to extract lithium from the ground through brine pools.
SQM’s shares have more than doubled over the past year, reflecting a boom in demand from an auto industry that has begun to pivot its manufacturing base toward EVs.
(By Kylie Madry and Noe Torres; Editing by Anthony Esposito and Himani Sarkar)