Lithium Australia slams claims by takeover target Lepidico
Lithium Australia’s $24m takeover battle for Lepidico boiled over this week when the Perth-based company released an ASX statement slamming purported recent attacks on their Sileach Lithium processing technology by the Lepidico board.
In a full-frontal assault, Lithium Australia spelt out the comments made in public forums by the Lepidico board and rebutted them adding that they had also written directly to Lepidico’s lawyers.
The latest twist in the takeover battle comes less than one month after Lithium Australia emerged victorious from a Supreme Court fight with Lepidico over the ownership of their SIleach Lithium processing technology. As part of the settlement, Lepidico agreed that Sileach was not an improvement, enhancement or modification of their own L-Max process.
According to Lithium Australia however, Lepidico subsequently made public statements that are critical of the Sileach technology.
In their statement yesterday to the ASX, Lithium Australia said the Lepidico board had “made statements calculated to discredit Sileach that are false, misleading and designed to invent safety concerns without any proper basis; (and) expressed mock outrage that Lithium Australia had not disclosed all of its proprietary and confidential technology on the Sileach process to the world at large, which of course no owner of valuable intellectual property would ever contemplate.”
“The statements made by the Lepidico board are untrue …..Sileach poses no greater level of safety concern than Lepidico’s L-Max process.”
According to Lithium Australia, one of the claims by Lepidico was that Sileach used toxic hydrofluoric acid in its process, which would not meet environmental standards.
In its rebuttal, Lithium Australia said Sileach does not use hydrofluoric acid and that the main fluorine product is in fact hexafluorosilicic acid, commonly used as a source of fluoride in domestic water supplies.
Lithium Australia also said the Federal Government’s Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation , which has been conducting pilot tests of Sileach, had conducted thorough safety investigations and approved the operation of the tests on the basis of negligible hydrofluoric acid risk.
The statement added that Lepidico’s board had demonstrated poor judgement and chosen a potentially damaging path. It said “in an attempt to distract from Lithium Australia’s compelling value proposition to Lepidico shareholders. This reflects poorly on the Lepidico board’s duty to its shareholders.”
With Lepidico’s board yet to release their target statement, the takeover battle could yet escalate even further. Lithium Australia have already secured pre-bid acceptances from shareholders holding almost 18% of Lepidico’s stock.