ICL Drops Most This Year as Potash Freezes Bid: Tel Aviv Mover

Israel Chemicals Ltd. dropped the most this year after Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. said “political events” in Israel have put on hold its bid for the harvester of minerals from the Dead Sea.

Shares of the Israeli company that makes fertilizers and potash dropped 2.5 percent, the most since Dec. 31, to 47.32 shekels at the close in Tel Aviv on 2.3 times the three-month average daily volume. Controlling stakeholder Israel Corp. declined 2.2 percent and the benchmark TA-25 index fell 0.2 percent.

“Potash is officially saying the process is stuck because of the political situation in Israel as there is no government to make a decision,” Gilad Alper, a senior analyst at Excellence Nessuah Investment House Ltd. in Ramat Gan, Israel, said today by phone. “That is putting pressure on the shares.”

Potash Corp., the world’s largest fertilizer producer, is facing opposition from Israeli politicians and labor groups to its plans to gain control of Tel Aviv-based Israel Chemicals, the country’s second-largest company by market value. Opponents of the deal plan an “emergency conference” tomorrow to stop the sale, Meir Cohen, a member of Israel’s parliament, said today in an e-mailed statement.

Potash Corp. is awaiting the outcome of talks on the formation of a coalition government in Israel, Chief Financial Officer Wayne Brownlee said today in a presentation to a conference in Hollywood, Florida. Brownlee said the Canadian company is seeking to control 51 percent to 100 percent of Israel Chemicals. Potash Corp. currently holds about 14 percent of the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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