TEL AVIV Nov 23 Israel Chemicals (ICL)
, one of the biggest suppliers of potash to China, India
and Europe, saw its net profit hit by weaker fertiliser prices
in the third quarter, despite growth in its speciality chemicals
ICL, which has exclusive permits in Israel to
extract minerals from the Dead Sea, said on Wednesday higher
volumes at its essential minerals division, which includes
production of potash and phosphates, were mostly offset by
These market conditions had led ICL to decide to speed up
the transition of its UK mine to polysulphate from potash. It
said it would seek approval from the North York Moors National
Park Authority to extend its planning permission for 40 years.
The firm's underlying net profit fell to $120 million,
excluding one-off items, from $155 million in the same period
last year. Analysts on average were expecting around $116
million according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S Estimates.
Revenue edged up by just 0.3 percent to $1.38 billion, short
of the average market forecast of $1.48 billion. Shares in ICL
were trading 1.4 percent lower at 1219 GMT.
ICL said the results had benefited from its strategy of
expanding its speciality business, such as advanced additives,
while reducing the impact of commodity fertiliser pricing.
Adjusted operating profit at the speciality solutions business
grew by 29 percent in the quarter.
Its potash volume increased following the stabilisation of
the market as a result of contracts signed with Chinese and
Indian customers. An average price of $200 tonne as well as
efforts to reduce ICL's cost per tonne resulted in an operating
profit of $81 million in the potash business.
ICL, a subsidiary of Israel Corp, said it would
pay a quarterly dividend of $60 million, or 5 cents per share,
unchanged from the second quarter.
(Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Alexander Smith)