US Rockwood will not spin off lithium business in short term - CEO

09 November 2010 22:07  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS)--US-based specialty chemical producer Rockwood Holdings will not spin off its lithium business in the short term but could consider a move in around five years, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

“The core business of Rockwood is lithium. It is not the time now for a spin-off. On a stand-alone basis, this business would not have the resources to invest for future growth,” said Seifi Ghasemi, chairman, president and CEO of Rockwood.

Ghasemi spoke at the company’s investor day in New York.

“In the future, we could consider making this a separate business if it made sense for shareholders,” he added. “Sometimes if you are a pure play, you get a higher multiple. Five years might be the right time, but we’ll see.”

Rockwood’s lithium business is estimated to generate sales of over $500m (€360m) in 2010. It says it is the world’s largest producer of lithium compounds.

In the long-term, the major growth driver of lithium sales will be hybrid electric and electric vehicles, said Ghasemi.

“We will undergo a transportation revolution. In time, everyone will drive an electric vehicle,” he said.

The company is working to create a new generation of lithium products to enhance the performance of lithium-ion batteries, Ghasemi added.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Joseph Chang
+1 713 525 2653

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