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Israel Chemicals Completes Potash Supply Agreements With China

Israel Chemicals Ltd. will supply 660,000 metric tons of potash to China in the first half of this year as the company that extracts minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizer seeks to expand sales to Asia.

The sales are part of a contract to supply 3.3 million tons of potash to Chinese buyers in the next three years, according to a company statement to the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange today. The shares added 0.3 percent to 47.50 shekels at the close in Tel Aviv.

The contracts “demonstrate our successful strategy aimed at reinforcing and deepening our positioning in the Chinese market,” Dani Chen, chief executive office of ICL Fertilizers, said in an e-mailed statement. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., Mosaic Co. and Agrium Inc. this month agreed to sell 1 million tons of the crop nutrient to China’s Sinofert Holdings Ltd. at a price that’s $70 a ton below a March agreement.

The sales come as the proposed acquisition of Israel Chemicals by Canada’s Potash Corp. is on hold until after next week’s election, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Jan. 9. Polls show the opposition Labor party may get the second-largest share of Knesset seats behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu slate.

“Bringing left-leaning parties into the coalition would make the acquisition less likely,” Daniel Goldstein, global head of sales at Tel Aviv-based IBI-Israel Brokerage & Investments, told Guy Johnson in an interview on Bloomberg Television today. “The government could decide to hold and increase the asset value,” he said.

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