UPDATE 1-China's Tianqi bids C$806 mln for Talison Lithium

Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:26pm EST

Related Topics

* Tianqi bid values Talison at C$7.15/share

* Talison in friendly deal with Rockwood worth C$6.50/share

* Shares of Talison up 1.49 percent at C$7.15 on TSX

Nov 19 (Reuters) - China's Chengdu Tianqi Industry Group Co said on Monday it made a formal takeover offer for Talison Lithium Ltd, valuing the lithium producer at C$806 million ($803.31 million) and topping a friendly deal with Rockwood Holdings Inc.

The C$7.15-a-share offer, made through Tianqi subsidiary Windfield Holdings Pty, is 65 Canadian cents a share higher than the bid from Rockwood, a U.S.-based chemical producer, which valued Talison at C$724 million.

Talison confirmed the Tianqi offer and said its board will meet to consider the bid, but noted it has not yet determined if the offer can be defined as a "superior proposal" under its agreement with Rockwood.

Talison's shares were trading in line with the Tianqi offer at C$7.15 on Monday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock has gained more than 68 percent since Aug. 22, the day before the Rockwood deal became public.

Closely held Tianqi said last week it had tied up a 15 percent stake in the miner and was planning to make an offer.

The Chinese company buys nearly all of its lithium concentrate from Talison and is the sole marketer of Talison products in China, said Byron Capital Markets analyst Jonathan Lee in a note to clients last week.

"Thus, Talison is a strategic and necessary partner for Tianqi's operations going forward," he said.

Tianqi, which makes a variety of raw materials for the battery industry, said it does not plan to alter operations or management at Talison.

Talison produces hard rock lithium at its Greenbushes lithium project in Western Australia, primarily for export to China. The company also owns the Salares 7 lithium brine project in Northern Chile.

New Jersey-based Rockwood has said a takeover of Talison will allow it to expand into Asia and boost its lithium output as demand rises for lithium batteries, which are used in smartphones, tablet computers, and hybrid and electric vehicles.

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