What is the number one lithium mining company in the world you may ask? The definitive answer to that question is Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), a company based in North Carolina with a long history.
Its roots go back to 1887 when the Albemarle Paper Manufacturing Company was formed with a small group of employees, a producer of kraft and blotting paper. Many years later in 1962, the company borrowed US$200 million to purchase the major chemical producer Ethyl Corporation.
In 1994, the paper company spun out Ethyl’s chemical business to create the publicly traded entity Albemarle Corporation.
Today, buying one share of the Fortune 500 company will cost you US$180 on the New York Stock Exchange. Albemarle employs approximately 7,400 people, operates in 75 countries and has about 2,300 customers throughout the globe.
It has regional sales and administration offices in Beijing, China; a segment of its lithium business in Frankfurt, Germany; an open-pit lithium mining operation in Greenbushes, Australia and over 25 other facilities and operations throughout seven continents.
As of September 19, the company had a market capitalization of US$21.1 billion.
Albemarle generated US$3.5 billion in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in Q2 this year and recently secured a US$90 million investment from the United States Department of Defense to support lithium production at the Kings Mountain mine in its home state of North Carolina.
In addition to lithium, Albemarle also produces potash/potassium chloride for fertilizer and other industrial uses, salt solutions used in organic solvents, molybdenum, bromine and metal hydrides for various purposes.
The company made a US$4.3 billion bid to acquire Australia’s Liontown Resources Limited (ASX: LTR) earlier this month, representing US$1.94 per share.
Albemarle also initiated a supply agreement with Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F) in May and will be providing the automotive manufacturer with 100,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium hydroxide over a five-year period beginning in 2026.
At the end of Q2, the company had approximately US$1.6 billion in cash and cash equivalents on hand and US$3.5 billion in total long-term debt.
Albemarle’s net sales increased dramatically year-over-year at the end of June by 123 per cent to US$9.66 billion.
An August report from Oregon’s Allied Market Research indicated that the market for lithium mining equipment would be worth US$2.5 billion by 2032, ascending at a significant compound annual growth rate of 16.2 per cent in the next nine years.