Albemarle buys into lithium with Rockwood merger

US speciality chemicals firms Albemarle and Rockwood have agreed to merge in a deal worth around $6.2 billion (£3.6 billion). The move brings Albemarle a significant share of global lithium supply, a market with considerable growth prospects as demand increases for lithium-ion batteries in electronic devices, and potentially electric vehicles.

Rockwood has been specialising further in lithium over the last couple of years. It sold off its pigments and other peripheral businesses to Huntsman, and its clay-based additives business to Altana at the end of last year. The combination gives Albemarle a more diverse product portfolio, which means more consistent and predictable earnings. 

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