Sherritt CEO pins future on demand for nickel for electric-car batteries – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – October 6, 2020)

Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk pulled his latest stunt at an annual event called Battery Day in late September. He staged the gathering in a California parking lot and invited 200 Tesla shareholders to watch from their electric cars and honk if they liked what they heard.

There was a lot of honking. The sound was music to the ears of Sherritt International chief executive David Pathe, whose Toronto-based company mines the nickel and cobalt that make electric car batteries possible.

“Battery Day was a big event for us,” said Mr. Pathe, who spent the past eight years running a debt-heavy miner that had few big events to celebrate. “We expect to see significant growth as all the automakers roll out their electric strategies.”

The honking at Tesla came three weeks after Sherritt won court approval for a contentious restructuring that cut $305-million of debt. One group of lenders pushed it to replace its executive team and board, a suggestion that was nixed.

Creditors eventually agreed to take a haircut to keep the company afloat and are now owed $433-million. Loans that were scheduled to start coming due next year now don’t mature until 2026.

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