Israel Chemicals to Dual-list in New York

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Just as Israel Chemicals gears up to list in New York, the potash producer on Wednesday admitted to a decline in third-quarter results.

Weakness in the potash market reduced third-quarter earnings at ICL, which also said it to dual-list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

ICL, the world's sixth-largest producer of the crop nutrient potash, attributed lower sales and profits to "weakness and instability in the potash market, which led to an appreciable reduction in amounts sold and to lower selling prices of fertilizers."

The announcement by Russia's Uralkali in July that it would quit one of the world's two largest potash cartels triggered a decline in prices, which customers to delay orders in hope of more price reductions. It was also hit by lower demand for phosphate fertilizers in India.

That said, towards the end of the third quarter, there was some recovery in demand which continued in October, ICL said.

ICL's potash production increased by 9 percent in the third quarter to 1.27 million tons due to greater production efficiency at the company's mine in England.

The company, a subsidiary of holding company Israel Corp, said dual-listing in New York would boost growth by improving access to international financial markets and providing flexibility in financing mergers and acquisitions. It did not provide further details of its plans.

ICL reported adjusted net profit in the third quarter of $196 million, down from $395 million a year earlier. The 2013 figure excludes one-time tax expenses of $118 million. Revenue fell to $1.45 billion from $1.76 billion.
ICL was forecast in a Reuters poll to earn $188.4 million on revenue of $1.46 billion.

Phosphates unit Rotem is going through one of its most difficult crises of the past several years, ICL said. Rotem's cost competitiveness is well below the average of competitors and available resources are only expected to last six to nine years because the Israeli government has still not granted a license to mine new reserves, it said.

The company said it began to implement a growth strategy, launched at the end of the second quarter, that includes measures to improve operational processes to save a few hundreds million dollars by 2016. It is also examining a number of growth initiatives in the fields of agriculture, food and engineered materials.

ICL said it would distribute a $54.5 million dividend. It paid a dividend of $221 million for the second quarter.

Canada's Potash Corp owns 14 percent of ICL. Attempts to increase its stake have been rebuffed by the Israeli government.

A truck passes the potash fertilizer manufacturing plant at ICL Fertilizer's Dead Sea Works, part of Israel Chemicals Group, on the Dead Sea, May 2013.Credit: Bloomberg

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