Nutrien sells stake in Chilean lithium producer for $5.2B to lift balance sheet

SASKATOON _ Fertilizer giant Nutrien Inc. says it has reached a deal to sell a partial stake in a Chilean lithium and nutrient producer to Tianqi Lithium Corp. for about $5.2 billion.

The Saskatoon-based company says under terms of the agreement, it will sell all of its 62.6 million class A shares in Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. for $83.20 each, while retaining its 20.2 million class B shares that it says it will look to sell soon.

Nutrien says the sale of its interest in one of the world’s largest lithium producers improves its balance sheet and liquidity.

The company says it was required by the Competition Commission of India and Ministry of Commerce in China to sell the holdings as part of the merger of Agrium and PotashCorp that formed Nutrien at the start of the year.

The sale comes as the price of lithium has climbed in recent years from rising demand in electric vehicles and other rechargeable battery products.

Tianqi Lithium Corp. is a Shenzhen Stock Exchange-listed company that has lithium operations in China and Australia.