SoftBank to buy up to 9.9 pct stake in Nemaska Lithium: Reuters

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp will buy up to 9.9 percent stake in Canada-based Nemaska Lithium Inc and invest up to $99.1 million (US$77.7 million) through a private placement as part of the agreement, the lithium miner said on Thursday.

The investment, which SoftBank said was its first in the lithium industry, will be made through a private placement of share subscription receipts at $1.12 (US$0.8784) each.

The investment will be used to fund the construction and commissioning of Nemaska Lithium’s Whabouchi Mine in Québec and its Shawinigan plant, the company said in a statement.

SoftBank will have the right to nominate a member on Nemaska Lithium’s board and will also have the option to buy up to 20 percent of the miner’s lithium output over the long term, the company added.

The investment comes at a time when lithium batteries are increasingly being installed in electric cars, including Tesla Inc‘s top-of-the-line Model X and General Motors Co‘s modestly-priced Chevy Bolt.

“We are extremely pleased to be further accelerating the Mobile Revolution, an era of IoT (Internet of Things) and electric vehicles enabled by the fusion of technology and energy storage”, SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said in a separate statement.

SoftBank has been investing aggressively in technology companies worldwide, mostly through its London-based SoftBank Vision Fund, and has stakes in companies including U.S. ride hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc.

Update: In a statement, Nemaska Lithium said it plans to raise between US$775 million and US$825 million to fund the Whabouchi Mine and Shawinigan plant project as well as other priorities.

The Québec City-based company is led by President and CEO Guy Bourassa.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Ritsuko Ando in Tokyo; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of PE Hub Canada)

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Toru Hanai