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Update: Rare-earths firm Lynas rejects $1.1 billion acquisition bid from Wesfarmers

March 28, 2019
Chemical Value Chain

Lynas processes rare-earth concentrate at the LAMP in Malaysia. Photo: Lynas. Lynas Corp., (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) a rare-earth mining company, announced that it will not engage with Wesfarmers (Perth, Australia) on its “highly conditional” $1.1 billion-takeover bid. Wesfarmers previously had made an offer to acquire Lynas.

Wesfarmers earlier stated that the proposal is a premium of 44.7% to the last closing price and a premium of 36.4% to Lynas’s 60-day weighted average price. Lynas is listed on the Australian stock exchange. Analysts say that Wesfarmers bid was materially undervaluing Lynas. Lynas said its key assets included its position as “the only significant” rare earths miner and processor outside of China, and its Mt Weld ore body – a long life tier-1 asset.

According to Lynas, the company’s Mount Weld Central Lanthanide Deposit (CLD) in Western Australia is one of the highest-grade rare-earth deposits in the world. Lynas processes the CLD ore at the Mount Weld concentration plant to produce a rare-earth concentrate that is sent for further processing at the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP) near Kuantan, Malaysia.

Lynas says that LAMP is one of the largest and most modern rare-earth separation plants in the world. The plant is designed to treat the Mount Weld concentrate and produce separated rare-earth oxide products for sale in locations including Japan, Europe, China, and North America.

The bid from Wesfarmers came despite Lynas facing the closure of its Malaysian operations by September if it cannot reach an agreement with the local government about the removal of toxic waste from its operations, according to press reports. Lynas announced in November 2018 that it would likely interrupt production of rare-earth elements for the rest of that year.

Wesfarmers is a diversified company with a wide range of businesses. Its industrials division consists of chemicals, energy, and fertilizers.

Rare earths have key applications in the electronics, automotive, environmental protection, and petrochemical sectors.

By Kartik Kohli

Source: Chemical Week

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