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Livent's weak outlook for Chinese lithium demand drags on shares


By Ernest Scheyder

(Reuters) - U.S. producer said on Monday that it expects demand for the to sag in for the rest of the year, sending its shares down more than 8 percent in after-hours trading.

Livent, spun off last year from FMC Corp, also posted a quarterly profit in line with Wall Street's expectations, with sales at the lower end of the forecast.

The lacklustre results and weak outlook for - the world's largest consumer - seemed to reinforce concerns about market oversupply for the electric vehicle battery ingredient despite bullish expectations for

Shares fell $1.07, or 8.2 percent, to $12.05 in after-hours trading. At one point the stock was down more than 10 percent.

Chinese customers, Livent said, are "unwilling to make firm commitments for price and volume at levels acceptable to us." The company said it had sought out customers in and - large consumers, but not at the same scale as

Costs are expected to rise for 2019 while Livent completes an expansion of its production facilities.

Still, the Philadelphia-based company said it remained confident in the long term.

"The fundamental drivers of demand in our industry continue to be positive," Livent said in a statement. "We remain confident that Livent will continue to be a in the performance lithium compounds industry in the coming years."

Livent, which produces lithium in and processes it at several sites around the world, posted net income of $25.9 million, or 18 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $10.9 million, or 9 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding one-time items, Livent earned 23 cents per share, matching analysts' expectations, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Livent's 2018 revenue of $443 million came in at the low end of a forecast $440 million to $450 million.

For 2019, the company expects revenue of $495 million to $525 million.

FMC, which owns about 86 percent of Livent's shares, said on Monday it plans to distribute its stake to its own shareholders by March.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by and Rosalba O'Brien)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 12 2019. 05:17 IST