Shareholders Approve Livent-Allkem Merger


Shareholders of lithium suppliers Livent Corp. and Allkem Ltd. both approved their proposed merger this month, the last main steps in a deal expected to close early next month.

The new company, Arcadium Lithium plc, is expected to begin operating on Jan. 4, officials said, will have supply bases in Argentina, Australia and Canada and will combine expertise in extraction and processing of the chemical that is now dubbed “white gold.”

Livent is headquartered in Philadelphia and Allkem in Buenos Aires. Their union has been described as a merger of equals and valued at U.S. $10.6 billion.

Both companies supply lithium hydroxide used to make thickening agents for lubricating greases but are gearing along with the rest of the lithium industry to supply the burgeoning electric vehicle market. EV sales have taken off the past several years, spurring large demand for lithium used to make lithium-ion batteries.

The rapid increase in demand for the chemical caused prices to spike to the point that many grease producers have begun shifting to alternative types of thickeners. At the same time, companies and governments around the world are scrambling to expand existing sources of lithium and to develop new ones. Lithium prices have fallen by about half since February.

The all stock merger will give Allkem and Livent shareholders 56% and 44%, respectively, of Arcadium stock.

Allkem has lithium brine extraction facilities in Argentina, lithium hard rock mining operations in Australia, another hard rock mine under development in Canada and a lithium hydroxide conversion plant in Japan. Livent has a hard rock mine in Canada, brine extraction operations in Argentina and processing plants in the United States and Canada.

The companies have said that Livent’s strongest areas of expertise is in processing and marketing, while Allkem’s is in extraction.