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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Toyota Lithium

Toyota in Lithium deal for Electric & Hybrid Cars

Jan 20, 2010 8:50 AM | By Reuters 

Toyota Motor Corp, the world's biggest carmaker, secured a new lithium supply deal to fuel its expansion of hybrid car production, a move that boosted shares in sister firm Toyota Tsusho Corp.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s hybrid car "Prius" Custom Concept Plus.
Photograph by: Itsuo Inouye
Credit: AP

  • Shares in Toyota Tsusho, owned 21,8% by Toyota, jumped about 10% after the sister firm announced a deal to jointly develop a new lithium project in Argentina with the project's owner and operator, Australian-listed Orocobre Ltd.

Lithium is used to make batteries and is expected to be in increasing demand as car-makers such as Toyota and Honda Motors ramp up production of fuel-electric hybrid vehicles.

"As environmentally friendly electric car demand continues to grow, Toyota Motor Corp will have the opportunity to become a cornerstone offtake customer," Orocobre said in a statement.

The Salar de Olaroz project is estimated to cost around $80- $100 million, with the final figure to be determined after a feasibility study, Orocobre spokesman Paul Ryan said, adding the study should be complete by end-September.

"In addition, Toyota Tsusho will also have the opportunity to negotiate a lithium chemicals off-take agreement with Orocobre as part of the joint venture," Orocobre Managing Director Richard Seville said in a press release.

Toyota aims to double its global output of gas-electric hybrid cars to 1 million units in 2011, as it fights to stay in the lead in the growing market for low-emission cars, the Nikkei business reported this month.

Subject to the finalisation of the terms, Toyota Tsusho will acquire a 25% equity interest in the joint venture while Orocobre will continue to own the remaining 75% of the project and will operate the venture.

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