Israeli Lawmakers Oppose Israel Chemicals Sale to Potash Corp.

Israeli lawmakers voiced strong opposition to a possible sale of Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL) to Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. in a parliamentary meeting convened in Jerusalem today to discuss the issue.

ICL, which mines chemicals from the Dead Sea, is Israel’s second-largest company by market value.

“The sale of ICL to a foreign company would be abandoning residents of the Negev region and a slap in the face of every citizen of Israel,” said Meir Cohen, a representative of the Yesh Atid faction, Israel’s second biggest party. The meeting was attended by more than 20 parliament members.

Potash Corp., the world’s largest fertilizer producer, currently holds about 14 percent of ICL, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and is seeking to purchase more than 50 percent.

Potash Corp. Chief Financial Officer Wayne Brownlee said yesterday his company is suspending talks to acquire ICL due to “political events.” Israel is in the process of forming a new government following national elections on Jan. 22.

ICL added 0.4 percent today at 11:20 a.m. in Tel Aviv trading, after closing down yesterday 2.5 percent. Controlling shareholder Israel Corp. slipped 0.8 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shoshanna Solomon in Tel Aviv at ssolomon22@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net

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