October 22, 2018 / 5:06 PM / 25 days ago

Chile's Constitutional Court delays decision on SQM-Tianqi sale

FILE PHOTO: Managers meet on a hill at the SQM nitrates plant in Coya Sur next to Maria Elena town, northern of Chile, October 13, 2016. Picture taken October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/File Photo/File Photo

(Reuters) - Chile’s Constitutional Court on Monday delayed to Thursday a hearing into the contested sale of local lithium miner SQM to Chinese firm Tianqi.

The court’s president said an “extraordinary session” would decide whether to hear in full a complaint by SQM’s majority shareholder that the country’s antitrust court failed to follow due process in approving a settlement between Tianqi and Chilean regulators.

The agreement cleared the way for the Chinese miner to purchase a 24 percent stake in SQM (SQM_pb.SN), the world’s No. 2 producer of lithium.

The court can either agree to hear the case in full and suspend the sale, potentially putting it at risk, hear the case in full but allow the sale to go ahead, or decline to hear the case further.

Reporting by Antonio de la Jara; Writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Paul Simao

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