ICL Slumps as Potash Corp. Scraps Takeover Plan: Tel Aviv Mover

Israel Chemicals Ltd. dropped the most in two weeks as Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. scrapped a proposed takeover bid for the chemicals maker.

The shares lost 4.5 percent, the most since April 11, to 43.40 shekels at the close in Tel Aviv. It was the second-biggest decline on the benchmark gauge as the shares traded more than double the three-month daily average. Controlling shareholder Israel Corp. dropped 3.8 percent, the most since April 10, to 2,377 shekels. The TA-25 Index fell 0.8 percent, bring the week’s loss to 2 percent.

Optimism a deal would materialize helped boost the shares of the company that extracts minerals from the Dead Sea 5.3 percent in the first quarter. “Now is not the time to pursue this opportunity,” Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Potash Corp. said today. “There must be receptivity to foreign investment and certainty in the rules that govern such investment.” Finance Minister Yair Lapid said he will adamantly oppose Potash Corp.’s potential bid and ICL employees have protested against the plan.

“This deal is dead,” Gilad Alper, senior analyst at Excellence Nessuah Brokerage Ltd., said today by phone. “It seems clear that in the foreseeable future Potash will not try again.”

Other Strategies

The transaction would have given Potash Corp. control of the sixth-largest potash producer and boosted its share of forecast global production capacity this year to about 27 percent, according data from fertilizer-industry information service Green Markets. It would also have enabled the Canadian company to vie with Russia’s OAO Uralkali, which according to data compiled by Bloomberg, was the world’s biggest producer in 2011.

Israel Chemicals Chief Executive Officer Stefan Borgas said this month the company would benefit from a takeover. The company said today that it never received “a proposal or offer regarding a merger” and that it was not “in any way involved” in discussions with the Canadian company, according to PR Newswire statement.

Global partnerships are not the only strategy for growth, ICL said. “This decision by Potash was expected given the strong public opposition in Israel to the transaction,” Alper said. “Still, this is clearly bad news for ICL’s share.”

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