Israel Chemicals Closes Potash Deal With China

YERUSHALAYIM -
The Dead Sea Works, a business unit of ICL Fertilizers, the world’s fourth largest producer and supplier of potash products. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
The Dead Sea Works, a business unit of ICL Fertilizers, the world’s fourth largest producer and supplier of potash products. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

A bright spot appeared in the otherwise gloomy corporate picture at Israel Chemicals on Thursday with news that it closed a deal with customers in China for the sale of 1.1 million metric tons of potash, Globes said.

The agreement is part of a three-year framework between ICL and its Chinese customers.

ICL Fertilizers CEO Nissim Adar said, “The agreements we have signed with our customers in China for 2015 confirm ICL’s strategy to reinforce our position in the Chinese market by marketing and selling directly to potash manufacturers and distributors. We are grateful for the trust and confidence they have placed in ICL over the years — and especially during this period — and we will continue to work diligently to strengthen their trust.”

Adar’s reference to “this period” was an acknowledgment of the crisis at ICL that has cast a pall over the company’s operations.

Due to a strike that began at ICL’s Dead Sea Works two months ago, most of the potash will be undeliverable during the first half of 2015, but they hope it can be resolved during the second half of the year.

Excellence Nessuah Brokerage deputy head of research Gilad Alper said last week that he expected the labor troubles to affect profits. “I assume that the strike will lead to a loss of 450,000 tons of potash from the Dead Sea out of expected sales of 900,000 tons per quarter.”

“The strike might shave 30% off ICL’s operational profits in the first quarter,” he added.

Earlier this week, the District Labor Court ruled that the planned layoffs of workers at Israel Chemicals would remain suspended pending another court hearing next week.

The Histadrut said that the workers would continue their strike.