Rock Tech Lithium Inc. is preparing a Nasdaq listing to broaden its investor base and help finance a $545 million battery-metals plant in Germany near sites of key suppliers and customers including Tesla Inc. and BASF SE, according to people familiar with the matter.
The U.S. stock market presence would complement Rock Tech’s listings on the Toronto and Frankfurt exchanges and is linked to a planned equity raise next year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
Rock Tech hasn’t made a final decision on the U.S. listing and its plans could still change, the people said.
A spokesman representing Vancouver-based Rock Tech declined to comment.
The company, backed by venture capitalist Peter Thiel, is betting on Germany playing a leading role for Europe’s electric-vehicle transition. Rock Tech announced a week ago that the processing plant would be built in Brandenburg, the German state outside Berlin where Tesla is completing its first vehicle factory in Europe.
Tesla’s plant in Gruenheide is slated to start producing vehicles this year even as it awaits final approval for the project, which has been delayed by legal challenges.
Rock Tech plans to start output at the plant as early as 2024. Europe’s first lithium converter will have a production capacity of 24,000 tons per year, which is equivalent to the volume needed to make lithium-ion batteries for about 500,000 electric cars, the company said last week.
Lithium has more than doubled in price from a year ago as automakers accelerate a push for electric vehicles. Global consumption of the key battery metal is projected to grow fivefold by 2030, according to BloombergNEF.
Rock Tech, whose investors include Christian Angermayer and hedge fund billionaire Alan Howard, recently hired former BMW AG and Deutsche Bank AG finance boss Stefan Krause as chief financial officer.
(By Christoph Rauwald and Eyk Henning)