* Tianqi has 2 weeks to repay the loan or adjust the conditions
* Cash flow, liquidity has not improved significantly since September
Nov. 13 (Reuters) – Chinese company Tianqi Lithium Corp said on Friday that its financial situation has not improved in recent weeks as a major deadline to repay a $ 3.5 billion loan looms and its request for adjustment of conditions is still under consideration.
Chengdu-based Tianqi Lithium, one of the world’s largest producers of the raw material used in electric vehicle batteries, is due to make a payment of $ 1.88 billion at the end of November on a syndicated loan led by China Ciitic Bank, which was subscribed to buy a stake in the Chilean company SQM in 2018.
“Although the company has officially submitted a request to adjust the structure of the loan terms to the syndicate, it is currently still under review,” Tianqi said in a Shenzhen Stock Exchange filing.
China Citic Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tianqi has suffered losses for five consecutive quarters after falling lithium prices AM-995C-LTCB and warned at the end of September that there was a risk of default.
Six weeks later, Tianqi said his tight cash flow and liquidity had “not improved significantly,” and reiterated his earlier warning that his production and operations could be severely affected if he could not. repay on time.
He also said he was still working to attract strategic investors to alleviate his liquidity problem, but nothing binding was signed.
A collapse at Tianqi, which owns a stake in Australia’s Greenbushes mine and counts battery makers LG Chem and Northvolt AG among its customers, would disrupt a lithium industry that has already seen Australian Altura Mining take over this quarter.
The Perth-based producer has been hit by persistently low lithium prices amid oversupply, exacerbated by a drop in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (Reporting by Tom Daly, additional reporting by Leng Cheng; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)