Fertilizer firm ICL files for U.S. listing

Reuters — Israel Chemicals Ltd., a Tel Aviv-based maker of fertilizer and specialty chemicals, filed with U.S. regulators to list on the New York Stock Exchange.

ICL set a nominal fundraising target of about $522.4 million though an initial public offering of 62 million ordinary shares, it said in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (all figures US$).

ICL, which has exclusive permits to extract potash and bromine from the Dead Sea, is a subsidiary of Israel Corp. and the second-largest company on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by market value.

ICL was established in 1968 as a government-owned company and was listed on the Tel Aviv exchange in 1992 after the government decided to privatize it.

In 1995, Israel sold its controlling interest to Israel Corp, which now has a 52.4 per cent stake in ICL, making it its largest shareholder.

However, the Israeli government still holds a special state share in ICL, which gives it the authority to decide on any sale or transfer of assets of the company.

The government for months has been looking to update its royalty and tax policy on non-oil and gas natural resources and, in May, a government panel recommended levying a new tax on mining companies.

ICL, which would be hit hardest, had said that it could be forced to shift its focus abroad if the recommendations are implemented.

ICL’s sales fell 13 per cent to $1.54 billion in the quarter ended June 30 due to a drop in both selling prices and quantities sold. The company earned an adjusted profit of $214 million for the period, down from $316 million a year earlier.

Saskatoon-based PotashCorp’s Israeli subsidiary holds a 13.86 per cent interest in ICL, making it the second-biggest shareholder in the company.

That stake will be unchanged after ICL’s U.S. listing, but Israel Corp.’s stake will fall to 46.68 per cent.

Morgan Stanley and Barclays are the lead underwriters for the IPO, ICL said.

The company said it will list its stock under the symbol “ICL” on the NYSE, but did not reveal the expected price of their shares.

The amount of money a company says it plans to raise in its first IPO filings is used to calculate registration fees. The final size of the IPO could be different.

— Reporting for Reuters by Amrutha Gayathri in Bangalore.

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