Tianqi’s top shareholders selling up to 4% stake

Move marks the second time in less than a year that controlling shareholder Chengdu Tianqi seeks to reduce its stake in the lithium miner.

The company, which last year sold 6% of its shares in Tianqi, will remain the controlling shareholder after the sale, the statement said.

Zhang Jing, wife of Tianqi chairman Jiang Weiping, will offload a 0.5% stake from her current 5.2% stake.

The move will provide the embattled lithium producer much-needed cash to make loan repayments and provide other financial assistance, it said.

Tianqi has been struggling to pay a loan taken out 2018 to partially fund the purchase of a 25% stake in Chilean miner SQM for $4.1 billion.

The acquisition was part of an aggressive global expansion aimed at securing leadership in the lithium market. It succeeded in putting China in a dominant position just as sales of EVs took off, but it came at hefty cost for Tianqi.

The beleaguered Sichuan-based miner closed that deal when lithium carbonate prices were peaking at $17,000 per tonne. They have since plunged around 59% due to a global oversupply of the commodity.

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