Albemarle Is Reportedly Interested in Acquiring FMC’s Lithium Business

Albemarle (ALB) may want to acquire FMC’s (FMC) Livent lithium unit if the unit’s initial public offering scheduled this fall does not go through, Reuters reported, citing an unidentified source familiar with the matter.

Albemarle executive Eric Norris, who leads the mining company’s global lithium business, told investors at a private June dinner in Las Vegas that a successful Livent IPO would be a positive development for Albemarle because it would indicate strong investor appetite in the sector, according to the source.

“If the multiple is high, good for Albemarle,” Norris reportedly said, according to the source who attended the event. “If it is low, we can buy” FMC’s lithium operations. Norris also told attendees that Luke Kissam, Albemarle’s CEO, shared his opinion, the source said.

David Ryan, Albemarle’s vice president of corporate strategy and investor relations, did not comment Albemarle’s acquisition plans. FMC also refused to comment, Reuters said.

Competition is seen heating up in the lithium sector as demand is seen growing for high-tech batteries like those used in electric vehicles.