April 15, 2019 / 11:32 PM / 3 days ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's Lynas posts 33 pct jump in Q3 rare earths output, amid takeover interest

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April 16 (Reuters) - Takeover target Lynas Corp Ltd on Tuesday reported a 32.5 percent rise in production of rare earths oxides during the quarter, as it fends off a takeover offer from retails-to-chemicals conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd .

Output of rare earths oxides (REO) in the quarter ending March 31 was 5,444 tonnes, compared with 4,110 tonnes produced lasta year.

Production of NdPr, or neodymium-praseodymium, rose 19.4 percent to 1,591 tonnes, a new quarterly record, said Lynas, the world’s only major producer of rare earths outside China.

The record came despite a slower start up in January, with more than 600 tonnes produced in the month of March, it said.

Third-quarter sales revenue rose nearly 18 percent to A$101.3 million.

Lynas added that in a move to combat continued weakness in market prices, it would reserve all NdPr product for its strategic business partners, which could lead to a build-up in inventory in the fourth quarter.

Lynas, which operates an $800 million processing plant in Malaysia, has been locked in a dispute with the Southeast Asian nation on waste disposal after it was told to remove years of accumulated waste at the facility in order to have its licence renewed.

Wesfarmers last month approached Lynas with a A$1.5 billion ($1.08 billion) takeover offer.

Lynas said at the time that it would not engage with Wesfarmers on its “highly conditional” offer.

$1 = 1.3945 Australian dollars Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru Editing by Richard Pullin

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