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Israel Corp. Gains as Shipping Unit Posts Profit: Tel Aviv Mover

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Israel Corp. shares had their biggest gain in almost a month as the company reported a rise in third-quarter profit amid efforts by Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. to buy its key chemicals unit.

The shares of the holding company with a controlling interest in Israel Chemicals Ltd. added 4 percent, the most since Oct. 31, at the market close in Tel Aviv, to 2,600 shekels. The two companies together make up 13 percent of the weighting of the benchmark TA-25 index which gained 0.5 percent.

The Tel Aviv-based Israel Corp., controlled by billionaire Idan Ofer, today reported a 5 percent rise in third quarter profit to $159 million. Revenue advanced to $3.09 billion from $3.08 billion a year earlier amid an improvement in the results of its Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. unit.

“The results show stability boosted by an improved performance of its shipping unit,” Eran Yunger, an analyst at Migdal Capital Markets, said today by phone.

Zim posted a profit of $16 million in the quarter compared with a $66 million loss in the same quarter a year earlier as revenues from container shipments advanced and operating and management costs declined. Revenues rose 9 percent to $1.06 billion, and operating costs dropped 6 percent to $928 million. Management costs retreated 10 percent, according to the filing with the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange.

Israel Corp. shares have advanced 4 percent since Oct. 31, when the company confirmed that Canada’s Potash Corp. is in talks with the Israeli government to merge with its Israel Chemicals unit. This compares with a 2.2 percent rise in the benchmark index in the same period. A takeover of Israel Chemicals would be at least three times bigger than the largest deal completed in the country and give Potash control of one of the few natural resources held by the Middle Eastern nation.

Israel Chemicals, which extracts minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizer and potash, rose 1.5 percent. The company reported a 9 percent drop in third-quarter profit on Nov. 21. to $395 million.

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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