Lynas posts 33% jump in Q3 rare earths output, amid takeover interest

Rare earth oxides praseodymium and neodymium are pictured in the final stage of production at Lynas Corp Ltd’s Advanced Materials Plant in Gebeng, Malaysia on July 3, 2014. (Reuters pic)

BANGALORE: Takeover target Lynas Corp Ltd on Tuesday reported a 32.5% rise in production of rare earths oxides during the quarter, as it fends off a takeover offer from retails-to-chemicals conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd.

Output of rare earths oxides (REO) in the quarter ending March 31 was 5,444 tonnes, compared with 4,110 tonnes produced last year.

Production of NdPr, or neodymium-praseodymium, rose 19.4% to 1,591 tonnes, a new quarterly record, said Lynas, the world’s only major producer of rare earths outside China.

The record came despite a slower start up in January, with more than 600 tonnes produced in the month of March, it said. Third quarter sales revenue rose nearly 18% to
A$101.3 million.

Lynas added that in a move to combat continued weakness in market prices, it would reserve all NdPr product for its strategic business partners, which could lead to a build-up in inventory in the fourth quarter.

Lynas, which operates a US$800 million processing plant in Malaysia, has been locked in a dispute with the Southeast Asian nation on waste disposal after it was told to remove years of accumulated waste at the facility in order to have its licence renewed.

Wesfarmers last month approached Lynas with an A$1.5 billion (US$1.08 billion) takeover offer.

Lynas said at the time that it would not engage with Wesfarmers on its “highly conditional” offer.