Chinese sovereign wealth backs Talison takeover in Australia

A Chinese sovereign wealth fund with $500B in assets is to invest directly in Chinese owned company taking over Talison.

China Investment Corporation, a Chinese sovereign fund that boasts around $500 billion in assets, threw its weight behind Chengdu Tianqi’s $847-million takeover of Talison Lithium, a major lithium miner listed in Canada and Australia.

The massive sovereign wealth fund is to buy a 35-percent stake in Chengdu Tianqi’s Australian subsidiary, Windfield Holdings, for $300 million, providing nearly half the remaining funds Chengdu Tianqi, a lithium processor, needs to takeover Talison through Windfield.

The other half, according to press releases issued by Chengdu Tianqi and Talison on Monday, is to come from three sources: Credit Suisse AG, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Twenty Two Dragons. Chengdu Tianqi said each of these firms had respectively promised $200 million, $120 million and $50 million in loans to back the takeover.

As it already owns 19.9 percent of Talison, Chengdu Tianqi said the $670 million in funding commitments would completely cover its $7.50-a-share cash offer to Talison shareholders.

In showing its specific funding plans, Chengdu Tianqi satisfied a critical term in the ongoing takeover. Talison had set 5 PM (WST), February 25, as a deadline for Chengdu Tianqi to show it more details on how it proposed to fund the takeover. 

Talison, which owns the Greenbushes lithium mine in Australia, said on Monday that it confirms “Tianqi has provided the necessary documentary evidence in connection with its funding arrangements.”

Meantime the window of opportunity for Rockwood Holdings to jump back into the fray appears to be narrowing. 

Last year Chengdu Tianqi outbid Rockwood for Talison, but then, as reported by Mineweb, it emerged earlier this month that Rockwood still had its eyes on the Talison. Rockwood Chairman and CEO Seifi Ghasemi said it had yet to rededicate funds it had set aside for the failed Talison bid in case Chengdu Tianqi’s takeover failed.

If it did fail, then Ghasemi said Rockwood would consider going after Talison again.

Presumably Rockwood will now have its eyes fixed to the next critical deadline Talison has given Chengdu Tianqi: March 26. By the end of this business day Chengdu Tianqi is to have all funds on deposit for the takeover.

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