Standard Lithium (NYSEMKT:SLI) stock came under fire after a short-seller recently questioned the lithium company's business viability and claims, but investors are paying greater attention to other developments at Standard Lithium, like the one today that's sent the lithium stock soaring. As of 11:10 a.m. ET Nov. 24, Standard Lithium shares were jumping 13.7% higher.
On Nov. 24, Standard Lithium reported it will receive $100 million from Koch Strategic Platforms and will issue nearly 13.48 million shares at a price of $7.42 a share in return. Koch Strategic Platforms is a subsidiary of private equity firm Koch Investments Group, which itself is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, and primarily invests in futuristic technologies and companies.
Issue of stock means share dilution, which is typically seen in negative light among investors in stocks. But it's a different ballgame altogether in Standard Lithium's case, which is why its stock is surging today.
To start, Standard Lithium says Koch Strategic Platforms is making this investment after "extensive due diligence" into the company's LiSTR technology, demonstration plant, and development objectives. Standard Lithium uses a patent-pending direct lithium extraction process called LiSTR to extract lithium from brine resources.
Just last week, short-seller Blue Orca questioned the viability of Standard Lithium's technology and disputed its recovery rate claims from its demonstration plant, among other things. Standard Lithium shares crashed double-digits soon after the short-seller report was released. A couple of days ago, Blue Orca even dismissed Standard Lithium's response as contradictory to its own previous disclosures, sending the stock plunging yet again.
The fresh infusion of funds from Koch Strategic Platforms, therefore, is being seen as a validation of Standard Lithium's business, at least from the private equity firm.
Moreover, Standard Lithium also said it was exploring alternatives to work in collaboration with several Koch Industries' subsidiaries, including potential collaborations to secure essential material as well as engineering, equipment, and construction services.
Standard Lithium further said it plans to use the $100 million to advance its first proposed commercial project in south Arkansas in partnership with German-based Lanxess and develop and commercialize its LiSTR technology.
Given the ugly ongoing spat between Blue Orca and Standard Lithium and the gravity of some of the allegations made by the former against the lithium company, it's not surprising to see why investors in lithium are betting on today's development. Koch Industries, after all, is among the largest private companies in North America with a presence across 70 countries and estimated annual revenue of $115 billion. Notably, Koch has lately made several investments in lithium to bet on the booming electric-vehicle industry, including a partnership to build an EV battery gigafactory and a $100 million investment in battery-recycler start-up Li-Cycle Holdings.
Investors in Standard Lithium, therefore, see Koch's investment in the company as a stamp of approval of the company's business proposition, and are betting on the stock today especially after its recent drop.