05/09/2019 - 13:02

Kidman green lights Wesfarmers takeover

05/09/2019 - 13:02

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Wesfarmers is set to enter the crowded lithium market, after Kidman Resources shareholders backed the conglomerate’s $776 million takeover offer.

Wesfarmers has flagged a capital expenditure of $700 million on Mt Holland.

Wesfarmers is set to enter the crowded lithium market, after Kidman Resources shareholders backed the conglomerate’s $776 million takeover offer.

Kidman said more than 94 per cent of votes at today's meeting were in favour of the all-cash $1.90 per share offer, which Wesfarmers launched in May.

The offer represented a 47.3 per cent premium to the price prior to the proposal's announcement.

The scheme of arrangement remains subject to court approval next Thursday.

Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said the approval by Kidman shareholders was one the most important milestones in the proposed acquisition.

“Subject to final court approval, completion of the transaction is expected to take place later this month,” he said.

Last month, Mr Scott said the dowturn in the lithium spot price due to a supply and demand imbalance was "nothing in the market that we didn't anticipate", and Kidman remained a long-term investment.

Several other companies in the lithium sector, including Albemarle, Mineral Resources, Pilbara Minerals and Talison Lithium have scaled back their investment plans in recent weeks in response to the market downturn.

Wesfarmers has flagged a capital expenditure of $700 million on Kidman’s flagship Mt Holland lithium project, which is jointly owned by South American producer Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A.

Mt Holland is located 110 kilometres south-east of Southern Cross in the Goldfields region.

The project includes the construction of a mine and co-located concentrator at Mt Holland, and a lithium hydroxide refinery in Kwinana.

Wesfarmers expects that first production of lithium hydroxide would occur in the second half of the 2022 calendar year.

The Kidman deal is Wesfarmers’ largest acquisition since it received $3.17 billion from November's spin-off of Coles.

Shares in Wesfarmers rose 1.6 per cent to trade at $39.16 each at 1.40pm AEST.

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