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A Canadian cobalt speculation company is being bought by a Swiss firm in a deal that values the company at about $501 million.

Toronto-based Cobalt 27 Capital Corp. says Pala Investment Ltd. already controls about 19 per cent of shares and will acquire the rest of the outstanding shares at $5.75 each.

The deal, which pushed Cobalt 27’s shares up 83 cents or 23.9 per cent to $4.30 in mid-morning trading on the TSX Venture, includes a cash payment of $3.57 per share, plus $2.18 in shares of a newly listed company to be named Nickel 28 Capital Corp.

Cobalt 27 has been focused on securing rights to cobalt production from a variety of interests, as well as physical stores of the metal, as a bet on increased demand for the metal as battery use grows.

The company holds about 2,905 tonnes of cobalt in warehouses, as well as future rights to some cobalt production from Vale’s Voisey’s Bay mine in Labrador and royalty rights from several mining projects.

Cobalt is a key metal for batteries, but has come under criticism because a significant portion of production is mined under sometimes questionable conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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