Israel Chemicals, Eyeing 'Foothold in Major Market,' Buys Brazil Plant Nutrition Firm

$120-million acquisition of Fertilaqua expands ICL’s presence in key growth market

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A Fertilaqua research and development center in Brazil.
A Fertilaqua research and development center in Brazil.Credit: Fertilaqua
Yoram Gabison
Yoram Gabison

In a move that will expand its position in one of the world’s fastest-growing agriculture markets, Israel Chemicals agreed on Tuesday to pay $120 million to buy Fertilaqua, one of Brazil’s leading plant nutrition firms.

ICL also agreed to pay seller Aqua Capital, Latin America’s largest agribusiness and food-focused private equity firm, as much as an additional 10% if Fertilaqua meets performance targets, the two sides said.

ICL shares closed up 0.9% at 12.71 shekels ($3.76) on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

The acquisition, part of ICL’s growth plan for 2020-2025, will drive the expansion of the company’s speciality plant nutrition business in Brazil, a leading producer of commodities.

“Fertilaqua gives ICL a significant foothold in a major market, where demand growth for specialty plant nutrition products is increasing rapidly. In addition, it unlocks immediate synergies for distribution in Brazil and further expands ICL’s product portfolio with higher growth, higher-margin products,” said ICL CEO Raviv Zoller.

Sebastian Popik, Aqua’s managing partner, told Reuters that the talks were particularly difficult. “There was currency volatility and everything was done remotely as nobody from the Israeli team came here,” he said.

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