Chinese battery maker CATL to acquire Canada's Millennial Lithium

Sept 28 (Reuters) - Canada’s Millennial Lithium Corp said on Tuesday Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) has agreed to buy the miner for C$376.8 million ($297.3 million), after outbidding compatriot Ganfeng Lithium .

CATL earlier this month had made an offer of C$3.85 per share in cash, Argentina-focused Millennial Lithium said, outbidding the C$3.60 per share offer made in July by Ganfeng, one of the world’s biggest producers of lithium chemicals used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The outright acquisition of a lithium miner by CATL follows its purchase of stakes in another Argentina-focused lithium company, Neo Lithium Corp, as well as in Greenland-focused North American Nickel and Australia’s Pilbara Minerals as it looks to shore up supply of key battery ingredients.

In April, CATL said its subsidiary agreed to take a stake in China Molybdenum Co’s Kisanfu mine, a major source of battery metal cobalt, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for $137.5 million.

Millennial Lithium said on Tuesday that CATL has also reimbursed it for the termination fee of $10 million paid to Ganfeng, which had until Monday to match the higher bid but decided against it.

CATL’s late charge puts the brakes on a prolific acquisition spree by Ganfeng so far in 2021, which has seen it agree to buy the shares it does not already own in Mexico-focused Bacanora Lithium for $264.5 million, as well as stakes in a lithium mine in Mali and a salt lake in China for $130 million and 1.47 billion yuan, respectively.

The deal also comes as prices for battery-grade lithium carbonate in China AM-995C-LTCB have more than tripled so far this year as EV demand roars back from the pandemic fallout.

Reporting by Sabahatjahan Contractor in Bengaluru and Tom Daly; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips