Sector News

Wesfarmers proposes to acquire rare-earths firm Lynas for $1.1 billion

March 26, 2019
Chemical Value Chain

Wesfarmers (Perth, Australia) says it has made an offer to acquire Lynas (Kuala Lumpur, Malysia), a rare-earth mining company, for $1.1 billion. Wesfarmers states 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.

Wesfarmers says it is “uniquely placed to support Lynas’s future through further capital investment to support downstream processing assets and realize the full potential of the Mount Weld ore body.” 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. According to a Reuters report, the plant faces issues obtaining license renewals due to concerns over waste storage. Lynas announced in November 2018 that it would likely interrupt production of rare-earth elements for the rest of that year.

Rob Scott, managing director at Wesfarmers, says that acquiring Lynas “leverages our unique assets and capabilities, including in chemical processing. We also acknowledge the importance of the LAMP in Malaysia,” he says.

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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