Five (more) things every investor should know about lithium and Lepidico

There is little sign that the expected lithium gap – the difference between demand for the lithium-ion battery raw material and its available supply – is closing. And, having signed a seven-year offtake agreement, Edison client Lepidico has significantly reduced its risk profile, increasing analyst Lord Ashbourne’s latest valuation by 16.5% to at least 6.64c. Given the business continues to gain momentum, here are five (more) things investors need to know about Lepidico. If you have not read our original seven things (or want to refresh your memory), you can find it here. When you are ready for a deep dive, take a look at our latest note.
#1 Lithium’s long-term price is on the up While lithium has had a relatively poor pandemic relative to other metals in terms of price performance, the speed of its catch up has been striking. The price has doubled since August. Barring the extraordinary, there is near-universal consensus the market will remain in deficit for the rest of the decade. We have raised our long-term price expectation for lithium hydroxide by 19.3%, to a still relatively conservative US$18,000/t. #2 Risks continue to be mitigated Lepidico’s Phase 1 plant project has been materially de-risked by an earlier pilot campaign. The decision to convert this facility into a demonstration plant will further reduce operating and scale-up risk. Process improvements are reducing the risk further, alongside the company’s green environmental credentials, which boast low carbon dioxide emissions. #3 Low-cost funding discussions are advancing Behre Dolbear Australia has completed its technical, environmental and social due diligence on Lepidico’s operations. These reports were commissioned by the US International Development Finance Corporation, which is considering providing debt finance to the Phase 1 project, because as well as lithium it will produce three minerals on the US government’s critical list. #4 Operations are also progressing Lepidico’s mine in Namibia and its chemical plant in Abu Dhabi now have all the permits needed to start construction. Having secured a binding offtake agreement with metal trader Traxys for all its lithium hydroxide over seven years (or 35,000t), Lepidico’s Phase 1 development and funding workstreams should retain their momentum for completion in the quarter ending in September. #5 Valuation: up to 8.41c After Lepidico secured the Traxys contract in December 2021, we valued the business at 5.70c/share. This has now risen by 16.5% to 6.64c plus a potential risk-adjusted 0.73–1.77c (fully diluted) for a conceptual 20,000tpa lithium carbonate equivalent Phase 2 plant. And there could be more upside still. Lord Ashbourne’s valuation does not wrap in any of the other revenue streams the management team is developing, which includes royalties from technology licences. For a deeper dive, read our full collection of analysis, which can be found on the company profile page.
If you would like to receive research on Lepidico, please complete the form below.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES Edison offers investor relations, consulting and research publication services to paying clients. In accordance with Section 17(b) of the US Securities Act of 1933, please note the following important disclosures relating to Edison and its client relationship with Lepidico (the “Company”). Edison is engaged by the Company on a paid basis for investor relations services and this communication relates to those services. In connection with its investor relations engagement by the Company, Edison’s standard fees are $20,000 per month. Additional compensation may have accrued since the publication of this notice. In addition, Edison is engaged by the Company to separately provide investment research coverage of its stock. In connection with its investment research coverage, Edison’s standard fees are £60,000 pa. Additional compensation may have accrued since the publication of this notice. No compensation relating to Edison’s investment research coverage is in any way contingent upon any positive opinions or conclusions in its research reports. Edison’s investor relations services are independent of its research services, although Edison’s investor relations activities may utilize published Edison research as a source, among others, in connection with its activities. Edison’s investor relations and investment research personnel regularly, but separately, interact with the Company. All source materials relating to any investor relations materials of Edison should be considered to be directly attributable to information provided to Edison by the Company or the third-party sources noted in the communication. While third-party information used in the publication of Edison’s communications is typically compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be accurate, complete and reliable, Edison does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of information contained therein, and typically does not independently verify such information. NOTE THAT ALL INVESTMENTS ARE SUBJECT TO INHERENT RISK AND ANY INVESTMENT IN THE COMPANY IS SUBJECT TO SIGNIFICANT RISKS THAT SHOULD BE ASSESSED BY ANY INVESTOR AND THEIR ADVISORS. PLEASE CLOSELY REVIEW THE COMPANY’S AVAILABLE PUBLIC DISCLOSURES, INCLUDING RISK FACTORS FOR SPECIFIC CONSIDERATION, WHICH ARE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE COMPANY’S INVESTOR RELATIONS WEBSITE, LINKED ABOVE. This communication may include forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause a company’s actual results and financial condition to differ from expectations include, without limitation: political uncertainty, changes in general economic conditions that adversely affect the level of demand for the company’s products or services, changes in international and domestic financial markets and in the competitive environment, and other factors relating to the foregoing. All forward-looking statements relating to this communication are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. Edison is neither a FINRA-registered broker-dealer nor an SEC-registered investment adviser and does not provide any investment advisory or banking services. Edison’s investment research reports are bona fide publications of general and regular circulation offering impersonal investment-related advice, not tailored to a specific investment portfolio or the needs of current and/or prospective subscribers. Edison does not offer or provide personal advice and its research provided is for informational purposes only. No mention of a particular security in any Edison communication constitutes a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell or hold that or any security, or that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison’s policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.