Albemarle looks vulnerable for opportunistic takeover. Valuation (down ~50%) reflects Mr. Market pricing in today’s China spot carbonate price as the long-term reference point, rather than ALB’s more profitable long-term hydroxide price with floors from reliable non-Chinese counter-parties.
In Part Two of Lithium-ion Rocks exclusive interview with KISSam Luke - the leader of the world’s largest lithium producer - Howard Klein and Rodney Hooper ask about such M&A possibility and whether management/board are considering insider buying at current prices? Additionally:
What LiOH pricing did ALB assume for its Wodgina JV to achieve 2X cost of capital? What is expected timing and pricing for $1B+ bond deal later this year for Wodgina JV? What are ALB's top two most important investment criteria for lithium investment? Might ALB deploy Ganfeng-like strategy in partnering with juniors via off-take agreements? After investing "tens of millions" evaluating King’s Mountain North Carolina what has ALB learned about the quality and size of that past-producing asset and the likelihood/timing that the Carolina Tin-Spodumene belt will again become an important part of USA and global lithium supply?
PLUS: Chris Kapsch of Loop Capital
Is lithium a specialty chemical or commodity chemical? What does that really mean for $ALB long-term profit margin and Mr. Market earnings/EBITDA multiple? With Tier One harbrock (Talison) and brine (Atacama), ALB is positioned as the "baseload supplier" to "Tier One" Battery and Cathode producers outside China. Does this justify premium valuation to peers? Where does ALB & other lithium producers sit relative to broader “Specialty Chemicals” investment universe?
ALB now attracting traditional Value funds, compared to prior interest from Growth and GARP investors - what are their top questions?
What are the dynamics in ALB's bromine and catalyst business? Might we see a positive or negative surprise from these Oligopolistic businesses supporting ALB's lithium growth investments?
Not Investment Advice. DYOR