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Nemaska Lithium Announces CAD 600M Equity Investment Proposal from The Pallinghurst Group

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Nemaska Lithium Inc. (TSX: NMX) (OTCQX: NMKEF) (Frankfurt: N0T) is pleased to announce that it has received and accepted a letter of intent from The Pallinghurst Group a global metals and mining industry investor, for the financing of the Whabouchi project, comprised of a lithium mine located in the Eeyou Istchee James-Bay territory and an electrochemical plant in Shawinigan. Pallinghurst’s LOI contemplates a CAD 200M private placement at CAD 0.25 per share and a stand-by purchase agreement to fully guarantee the successful completion of a rights offering of up to CAD 400M at the same issue price.

 

Pallinghurst and the Corporation agreed to a 3-month exclusivity period to allow for, among other things, the finalization of definitive agreements and completion of Pallinghurst’s due diligence.

 

The BBA report’s conclusions disclosed on April 29, 2019 supported the Corporation’s February 13, 2019 Whabouchi project cost-to-complete internal estimate, pursuant to which additional net funds of approximately CAD 375M were then required. However, it is the Corporation’s and Pallinghurst’s desire to ensure that the Corporation will be fully financed, while benefiting from reasonable financial flexibility to ensure the project attains nameplate capacity at the Shawinigan electrochemical plant. As such, the ultimate size of the rights offering will be determined by the parties following completion of Pallinghurst’s due diligence review and prior to execution of the definitive agreements.

 

“I am very proud today to share with all Nemaska Lithium stakeholders, the positive outcome of months of thorough review of alternatives and of discussions with several interested parties. Pallinghurst is a renowned financier with a unique vision and a deep knowledge of the lithium and battery material sector, making it a prime partner with whom we can embark on the next phase of our development. With Pallinghurst and Investissement Québec’s loyal support, we are solidifying the Corporation’s longevity and therefore, increasing the inherent value of the project for our stakeholders,” said Guy Bourassa, President and CEO of Nemaska Lithium.

 

“It is a pleasure to announce Pallinghurst’s intention to become a key partner of Nemaska Lithium, a corporation that truly embodies the future of supplying premium quality lithium products to the rapidly growing battery industry. The Corporation’s sustainable approach to the mining of its world-class deposit combined with the use of innovative value-adding technology sets Nemaska Lithium apart. In our view, Nemaska Lithium’s lithium salt will rapidly become one of the most sought-after battery materials globally. The Nemaska Lithium investment is in line with Pallinghurst’s desire to focus exclusively on the supply of critical battery and fuel-cell related materials. In addition, we are delighted to further invest in the Province of Québec, one of the world’s most attractive mining jurisdictions,” said Arne H. Frandsen, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Pallinghurst.

 

“As a longstanding partner of the Corporation, we are pleased to support Nemaska Lithium. We welcome the arrival of Pallinghurst, a strategic partner, with whom we intend to continue to ensure the sustainability of the project. The Nemaska Lithium project is a great opportunity for growth for our electric vehicle sector, an industry that generates positive economic benefits for Québec,” said Guy LeBlanc, President and Chief Executive Officer, Investissement Québec.

 

Context of the Announcement

 

The Board of Directors of Nemaska Lithium has accepted the LOI based on a unanimous recommendation from a special committee of independent directors that was charged with reviewing all alternatives with the assistance of financial and legal advisors, as was announced by the Corporation on February 27, 2019. After having solicited and engaged into discussions with several parties and having considered available alternatives, the Board of Directors has determined that it is now in the best interests of Nemaska Lithium and its stakeholders to finalize negotiations on an exclusive basis with Pallinghurst with a view to completing the transaction.  

 

In its recommendation, the special committee considered many factors, including the interests of the Corporation and its stakeholders, the economic and market environment in which Nemaska Lithium operates, the equity commitment size and the structure combining a private placement and a rights offering. This transaction will, allow existing Nemaska Lithium shareholders to participate. The special committee concluded that the overall terms of Pallinghurst’s LOI are reasonable and acceptable, notably the duration of the exclusivity period, the covenants of Pallinghurst and the contemplated terms of the definitive agreements.

 

Additional Terms of the Letter of Intent

 

The LOI provides that, in case of termination of the transaction, Pallinghurst will be entitled to receive either a payment of a CAD 12M fee or, at its sole discretion, warrants providing for the issuance of such number of shares that represents 19.99% of the shares outstanding of Nemaska Lithium as at the date of the execution of the LOI at a price of CAD 0.25 per share, for a period of 12 months following the grant of such warrants. Issuance of the warrants is subject to the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

 

The definitive agreements will also contain numerous conditions and deal protection provisions, including non‑solicitation covenants customary for this type of transaction, applicable regulatory approvals including, but not limited to, the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the approval of the shareholders of Nemaska Lithium. In addition, it remains subject to the amendment of certain terms of the current stream agreement and senior secured callable bonds.

 

It is anticipated that a special meeting of Nemaska Lithium shareholders to consider this transaction would be held in or before October 2019. Additional details regarding the timing of this transaction will be communicated over the coming weeks.

 

There is no assurance that definitive agreements will be reached in relation to any transaction following the exclusivity period and the ongoing discussions. No assurance may be given that a transaction will occur in relation to the proposed transaction or otherwise, or regarding the definitive terms of such transaction, if any.

 

Arrangement Pursuant to Section 192 of the Canada Business Corporations Act

 

In light of the complexity of the implementation of the investment proposal and the number of stakeholders involved, Nemaska Lithium sought a preliminary interim order pursuant to the Canada Business Corporations Act, a federal law in Canada under which a solvent corporation can efficiently implement such a complex transaction. The process itself is called an “arrangement”, a term widely construed, as it aims to encompass novel, complex and unique transactions in the best interest of all stakeholders.

 

Clarksons Platou Securities AS and National Bank Financial are acting as financial advisors to the Corporation.

 

About Nemaska Lithium

 

Nemaska Lithium Inc. is a developing chemical company whose activities will be vertically integrated, from spodumene mining to the commercialization of high-purity lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate. These lithium salts are mainly destined for the fast-growing lithium-ion battery market, which is driven by the increasing demand for electric vehicles and energy storage worldwide. With its products and processes, the Corporation intends to facilitate access to green energy, for the benefit of humanity.

 

The Corporation will be operating the Whabouchi mine in Québec, Canada, one of the richest lithium spodumene deposits in the world, both in volume and grade. The spodumene concentrate produced at the Whabouchi mine will be processed at the Shawinigan plant using a unique membrane electrolysis process for which the Corporation holds several patents.

 

About The Pallinghurst Group

 

The Pallinghurst Group is a London-based leading strategic investor in the global metals and mining sector with significant development, operational and financial expertise in mining. For the past 12 years, Pallinghurst has put US$2 billion of equity capital to work in a number of mining projects. As a hands-on investor, Pallinghurst seeks to act as a catalyst for developing and unlocking value for the benefit of all stakeholders. Pallinghurst’s investors consist of blue-chip family offices, sovereign wealth funds as well as specialized mining investors.

 

Posted July 22, 2019

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