SQM Lithium Sales Volume Jumps 40% in 2020

Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA (SQM) of Santiago, Chile has reported a 2020 net income of US$164.6 million on revenues of US$1.82 billion compared with a net income of US$280.6 million on revenues of US$1.94 billion in 2019. In the fourth quarter 2020, SQM had a net income of US$68.3 million on revenues of US$513.8 million versus US$68.2 million on revenues of US$472.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Ricardo Ramos, SQM’s CEO, stated,”In particular, I want to highlight our lithium carbonate operations, in which our production surpassed 70,000 tonnes in 2020 and in which all quality indices exceeded our objectives for the year. Our production trends remain very positive, during the first two months of 2021, we have produced more than 7,000 tonnes/month of lithium carbonate.

“All of the above allows us to be optimistic about our goal of completing our new lithium carbonate expansion, which is expected to reach 120,000 tonnes by the end of this year and 180,000 tonnes at the end of 2023.

“The fourth quarter was not only the quarter with the highest operating margin of the year, but also set a historic record for lithium sales volumes. We sold more than 25,000 tonnes and complied with all logistics, production and quality restrictions, a clear sign that we are prepared to continue to grow rapidly as one of the main lithium suppliers for the battery industry. Our lithium sales volumes rose more than 40% in the year despite the market growing approximately 6% proving that we have indisputable competitive advantages related to production costs and capacity, logistics response and high quality production.”

SQM’s Lithium and Derivatives segment generated revenues of US$383.4 million in 2020 down 24% from US$505.7 million in 2019. The sales volume in 2020 totaled 64,600 tonnes versus 45,100 tonnes in 2019. In the fourth quarter of 2020 sales revenue increased 37% to US$136.9 million, and sales volume more than doubled to 25,800 tonnes.

SQM’s Specialty Plant Nutrition segment generated revenues of US$701.7 million in 2020, a decrease of 3% from 2019. Sales volumes decreased 1% to 1,036.4 tonnes.

SQM’s Iodine and Derivatives segment generated revenues of US$334.7 million in 2020 compared with US$371.0 million in 2019. The segment’s sales volumes were 24% lower, at 9,700 tonnes. The company expects to see a significant recovery during 2021 as the impact of the pandemic fades away.

SQM’s Potassium Chloride and Potassium Sulfate segment generated 2020 revenues of US$209.3 million down from US$212.2 million in 2019. Sales volumes increased 22% to 726,700 tonnes.

SQM’s Industrial Chemicals segment reported that sales revenue in 2020 increased 69% to US$160.6 million. Sales of industrial nitrates increased 82% to 225,100 tonnes. The company reported sales of 160,000 tonnes of solar salts for the period and expects sales to reach 200,000 tonnes in 2021.

Volume 35, Issue 05

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