ICL Snaps Up Specialty Chemicals Plant in Germany for Up to Around $60m

The Israeli company says the deal will position it as a top phosphorous pentasulfide maker in Europe.

Yoram Gabison
Yoram Gabison
Yoram Gabison
Yoram Gabison

Israel Chemicals said Monday it was buying phosphorous pentasulfide operations in Germany from Thermphos International at an estimated cost of $50 million to $60 million.

ICL said the acquisition would position it as a top phosphorous pentasulfide maker in Europe; it is already a market leader in the United States. Phosphorous pentasulfide is used in making lubricant additives, pesticides and specialty chemicals for mining.

The acquisition will bolster ICL's performance products division; the plant in Knapsack, Germany has few competitors around the world. On Monday, ICL shares climbed 0.9%, compared with a 0.2% rise by the blue-chip TA-25 index.

In its efforts to ensure a captive market for phosphate mined in the Negev and to expand elsewhere, ICL bought Astaris in 2005. That U.S. company is a maker of phosphate-based flame retardants. Other acquisitions by ICL in the phosphate sector include Dutch-German Everris in 2007 and Spain's Fuentes in 2011.

The latest deal "complements ICL's global presence in phosphorus-based specialty ingredients," Charles Weidhas, president and chief executive of ICL Performance Products, said in a statement.

"It is the next step in the global expansion strategy that we have been following for the past decade, carrying out complementary acquisitions that have transformed our company into a global leader in agriculture, food, water and specialty materials markets."

The ICL phosphate works.Credit: Eyal Toueg

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