Malaysian PM Mahathir says new suitors may emerge for rare-earths firm Lynas

Malaysia PM Mahathir Mohamad. Photo: Reuters

New suitors may emerge for Australian rare-earths processing company Lynas Corp, which may lose the operating licence for its processing plant in Malaysia, the country’s prime minister said on Friday.

Lynas last week rejected a $1.1 billion takeover offer from Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd, though Wesfarmers said they remain keen on the talks.

Lynas operates an $800 million plant in the Malaysian town of Kuantan that refines ore from a rare-earths mine that it owns in Australia. Malaysia has recently halted the renewal of its operating licence over concerns about how it handles radioactive wastes at the site.

In a televised media briefing after a cabinet meeting on Friday, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said other companies could be interested in Lynas.

“We have opened up the business to other people, and there are other companies willing to acquire Lynas,” Mahathir said.

Mahathir did not name the companies interested in purchasing Lynas.

“They have given us a promise that in the future before sending the raw materials to Malaysia they will clean it up first. They will crack it and decontaminate it in some way with regard to radioactivity,”Mahathir said.

He added that the company, or even Lynas, would be able to operate in Malaysia if they promise that raw materials coming to Malaysia are cleaned.

Lynas said in a statement late on Friday that it is seeking clarification from the government and will provide an update when further information is available.

In December, Malaysia’s Energy and Environment ministry required Lynas, the only rare earths producer outside of China, to remove the accumulating radioactive wastes to qualify for a renewal.

Mahathir said Lynas had intended to send the waste back to Australia but the country does not want to accept it.

Rare earths are speciality metals used in everything from ceramics to magnets and consumer electronics.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.