China-based battery maker CATL has signed a A$601m ($405.31m) deal to divest a 4.9% stake in Australian lithium miner Pilbara Minerals to an undisclosed firm, reported Reuters, citing a term sheet it reviewed.

In 2019, CATL acquired the holding for A$0.30 cents per share amid the lithium market decline.

The Chinese firm has now offloaded the stake at A$4.10 a share in a block trade.

This sale involves 146 million shares and equates to A$555m net for CATL from its original investment.

Goldman Sachs and UBS served as bookrunners for the transaction.

The disposal does not affect the battery maker’s access to lithium supply from Pilbara Minerals.

In 2020, Pilbara Minerals signed a five-year lithium offtake agreement with battery chemicals maker Yibin Tianyi Lithium, which is a joint venture of CATL, Canmax, and Tianyuan Group.

Recently, Pilbara Minerals and Korean major POSCO joint venture company POSCO Pilbara Lithium Solution secured a debt facility of $460m with Korean government-owned banks to fund the development of the 43,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate (LHM) chemical facility in South Korea.

The debt facility, which comprises both a fixed and variable interest rate, has a seven-year term.

The first 21,500tpa train at the chemical facility is planned to be commissioned in late CY2023.

Ln January 2023, Reuters reported that Bolivia selected a consortium led by CATL to develop the country’s significant lithium reserves and unlock its potential as a supplier of lithium for batteries.