Israel Chemicals Says Planning to List Shares in New York

Israel Chemicals Ltd. will dual list its shares in the U.S. to help the Dead Sea minerals harvester reach global investors and make acquisitions, the company said.

Trading on the New York Stock Exchange will improve “access to the international financial markets and provide flexibility in financing M&A activities,” the company said today in an e-mailed statement. The shares declined 3 percent to 29.20 shekels at the close in Tel Aviv as the company reported an 80 percent drop in profit amid falling potash prices.

Israel Chemicals, with the fifth-largest weighting on the benchmark TA-25 Index, said in August it was considering listing shares overseas. The stock has dropped 34 percent this year amid a government review on natural resources which could lead to higher royalty payments and as Uralkali OJSC in July decided to halt a cooperation with Belarus that controlled supplies from the former Soviet Union, sending down shares of potash producers worldwide.

“This will make it easier for them to make acquisitions,” Gilad Alper, a senior analyst at Tel Aviv-based Excellence Nessuah Brokerage Ltd., said today by phone. “It could also be the beginning of a long process of moving everything they can outside of Israel, as a result of the state victimizing the company and creating a hostile business environment.”

Finance Minister Yair Lapid said in April that natural resources are a public asset as he set up a panel to review royalties paid by ICL. The government last year doubled the producer’s taxes to 10 percent. He also voiced opposition to Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan’s bid to acquire a controlling stake in ICL, leading to the scrapping of the plans on April 25.

Israel Chemicals reported a decrease in sales and profits during in the third quarter due to “weakness and instability” in the potash market, which led to a reduction in amounts sold and to lower selling prices of fertilizers. Third quarter net totaled $78 million compared to $395 million for the same period in 2012.

Israel Corp., which holds a 52.29 percent stake in ICL, declined 2.7 percent to 1,820 shekels. Idan Ofer, who controls the company, resigned as a director this year as he moved to London.

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