May 30, 2019. Luther “Luke” Kissam IV, Albemarle’s Chairman, CEO & President speaks with Howard Klein from $ALB's Charlotte, North Carolina headquarters with Rodney Hooper dialed in. LithiumIonRocks will publish the co-hosts' candid questioning over a three-part series of exclusive podcasts, each with an additional complementary guest.
In today’s Part One, we discuss with the leader of the world’s largest and highly profitable lithium producer the current state of the still nascent and immature lithium industry, Albemarle’s place within it, and its aggressive investments - substantially focused on lithium hydroxide - to meet unprecedented 15-20% annual demand growth from increased Electric Vehicle adoption.
What does Luke think about what Mr. Market is saying about ALB - trading at ~7X 2020 EV/EBITDA down some 50% from last year’s high, essentially flat since Luke assumed the CEO role in 2011, and only marginally up since ALB's 2015 purchase of Rockwood at 14.4X LTM EV/EBITDA?
Will hydroxide demand overtake carbonate demand and when? Will hydroxide maintain its price premium to carbonate? How does Luke think about unconventional clay and geothermal projects? Thoughts on Livent, Orocobre? Buy vs. Build Kings Mountain North Carolina or Antofalla, Argentina? As an S&P 500 constituent and Goldman Sachs SUSTAIN 50 name, Luke comments on Sustainability considerations in general and via yield enhancement equipment being implemented in Chile.
As much of the lithium industry heads to Santiago Chile for the flagship Fast Markets 11th Annual Lithium Supply and Markets conference - and tours both ALB and SQM’s Atacama brine salars - LithiumIonRocks also profiles the state of play in Chile. Cristobal Garcia Huidobro, CEO of Lithium Power International (LPI) & Tim McKenna - ex Rockwood VP of IR and Government relations, now with Piedmont Lithium in North Carolina - discuss the brine vs. hard rock debate and investor perceptions (and misperceptions) about Chile’s lithium investment climate for producers like SQM and ALB as well as advanced development projects like LPI’s Maricunga.
Not Investment Advice. DYOR.