July 31, 2019 / 7:30 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Israel Chemicals second-quarter profit up on strong potash sales

* Q2 adjusted EPS 12 cents vs forecast 11 cents

* Sales edge up to $1.43 vs forecast of $1.47 bln

* Shares open 3.9% higher in Tel Aviv (Adds details, share reaction)

By Ari Rabinovitch

JERUSALEM, July 31 (Reuters) - Israel Chemicals (ICL) on Wednesday reported a rise in second-quarter revenue and profit despite poor weather conditions in some target markets.

ICL posted adjusted earnings per share of 12 cents, up from 9 cents a year earlier, while sales edged up to $1.43 billion from $1.37 billion amid higher potash sales.

Analysts on average had forecast earnings of 11 cents per share on sales of $1.47 billion, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

The company is the world's sixth-largest producer of potash, a key ingredient in fertilizers, with exclusive rights in Israel to extract minerals from the Dead Sea.

It said it would pay a quarterly dividend of 5.7 cents a share, down from 5.8 cents a share in the first quarter.

"Our business model, based on leading in key markets, helped us overcome challenging weather conditions in some of our target markets," said CEO Raviv Zoller. "Also, our strategic initiatives to strengthen value chains continue to bear fruit."

ICL shares opened 3.9% higher in Tel Aviv.

Potash sales, which account for 27% of the group total, rose to $432 million in the quarter from $346 million a year earlier. The average selling price per tonne rose to $289 from $266.

There was a moderate decrease in potash prices towards the end of the second quarter, ICL said, due to lower demand in Brazil in light of low soybean prices, unfavourable weather conditions in the United States that impacted fertilizers application, and lower palm oil prices in southeast Asia.

Potash production in the quarter was 229,000 tonnes lower than a year earlier, though the quantity sold was 156,000 tonnes higher, mainly due to an increase in sales to China and Brazil, which was partly offset by weaker sales to India. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch Editing by Steven Scheer and David Holmes)

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