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Mitsubishi Materials buys Masan’s H.C. Starck for US$134.5 million
Vietnamese conglomerate to retain ownership of British battery technology firm Nyobolt
Sao Da Jr 30 May 2024

Mitsubishi Materials Corporation has agreed to acquire Germany-headquartered H.C. Starck Holding GmbH from Vietnam’s Masan Group for US$134.5 million.

The Japanese company and Masan High-Tech Materials signed definitive agreements on the purchase on May 30. The two sides will also enter into a “long-term, win-win” APT (ammonium paratungstate) and tungsten oxide offtake agreement.

The acquisition will provide Mitsubishi Materials with access to H.C. Starck’s production hubs in Europe, North America and China as well as a tungsten scrap recycling platform backed by proprietary intellectual property including 90 worldwide patents and another 53 patents in the application phase, according to the Japanese firm.

However, Masan will retain its ownership of Nyobolt, a fast-charging tungsten and niobium-based battery technology company based in the United Kingdom. The Ho Chi Minh-based conglomerate had earlier invested in Nyobolt through H.C. Starck.

Under the deals, Masan will retain potential monetary upside from future commercialization of black mass recycling technology developed by H.C. Starck.

Masan is expected to report a one-time profit gain of about US$40 million as a result of the tungsten business deal and benefit from a long-term after-tax profit of US$20-30 million.

Innovative battery technology

After becoming the owner of H.C. Starck in 2020, Masan invested £45 million (US$53.3 million) into Nyobolt in July 2022 through the German materials company.

Nyobolt is starting to scale and commercialize its operations. In July 2023, Nyobolt unveiled an electric vehicle concept with six-minute charging time and then signed heads of terms deals with two major commercial customers.

Masan says there is monetary upside for the Vietnamese group as Nyobolt starts to commercialize its innovative tungsten-niobium battery technology.

Explaining another reason for Masan’s transferring the German subsidiary, Masan Group chief executive Danny Le says: “We will continue to explore strategic alternatives to transform Masan Group into a consumer pure-play. Less is more.”

Kazuo Ohara, president of Mitsubishi Materials’ metalworking solutions business, adds: “This transaction represents an important milestone in the execution of our fiscal year 2031 strategy to further grow in the tungsten industry and contribute to a recycling-oriented society.”

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2024, subject to customary corporate and regulatory approvals. UBS Singapore Branch acted as financial adviser to Masan in the deal.

Photo: H.C. Starck's tungsten production site in Goslar, Germany (H.C. Starck) 

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