By Dave Brown — Exclusive to Lithium Investing News
Two top lithium producing companies filed quarterly financial reports over the last week and another filed its annual report for the year ending last December. The three companies provided lithium investors with interesting details on their respective operations, and all seemed to indicate that demand for lithium is expanding. This overall consensus provides a good context for industry stakeholders, investors, and lithium exploration projects, as demand and higher realized prices for the underlying resource should stimulate additional investment interest. Rockwood Lithium Rockwood Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ROC), the parent of Rockwood Lithium and a global producer of specialty chemicals and advanced materials, reported strong earnings per share with continuing operations of $0.94 for the first quarter compared with $0.80 for the same period last year. This quarter is the first period that the company has reported segmented revenues for the lithium business. During a conference call, Seifi Ghasemi, CEO of Rockwood, explained the company's strategy within the lithium business unit. Last year the company made a tactical decision to build and operate a processing facility in order to distribute finished potash by-product directly to the consumer market, opting to no longer sell it exclusively in semi-finished form to a Chilean company. Rockwood believes that this will provide expanded profit margins and that the potash will be realized as a by-product of the company's lithium operations. The rest of the lithium business “grew by double digits in the first quarter” if potash sales are excluded. Another key point underscored in the conference call was that Rockwood's battery-grade lithium sales in the first quarter more than doubled compared to the same period last year.