Tianqi Lithium said to pick banks for Hong Kong listing

Zhangjiagang production plant. (Image courtesy of Tianqi Lithium.)

Tianqi Lithium Corp., a Chinese supplier of the key material used in batteries, has selected banks for a share offering in Hong Kong that could take place as soon as mid-2022, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company, whose shares already trade in Shenzhen, is working with China International Capital Corp., Morgan Stanley and CMB International on the proposed sale that could raise between $1 billion and $2 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Deliberations are ongoing and details such as the fundraising amount and timing could still change, the people said. A representative for CICC declined to comment, while Morgan Stanley, CMBI and Tianqi Lithium didn’t immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

Tianqi Lithium applied for a Hong Kong listing in 2018, but the plan was shelved amid falling lithium prices and a cash squeeze following its purchase of a 24% stake in a Chilean rival for about $4 billion. The company’s performance has improved since, as the global push for electrified transport has stoked demand for lithium, which is used in rechargeable batteries.

The Chengdu, Sichuan-based company has revived the stalled share sale plan after global prices for the raw material almost quadrupled in the past year. In September, the company said its board approved a proposal to issue H shares and list on the main board of Hong Kong’s stock exchange.

The resurgence in the consumption of the metal helped Tianqi Lithium return to profit for two quarters in a row last year. Share prices of Tianqi Lithium have more than doubled since end-March as it recovers from debt repayment pressures that forced the miner to sell stakes in the world’s biggest lithium mine in Australia and in a refinery to IGO Ltd. for $1.4 billion.

(By Pei Li and Annie Lee)

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