Big profits for Israel Chemicals

Israel Chemicals Quarterly Profit Rises 21% as Sales Advanced

By Ronit Goodman, BLOOMBERG, – Mar 28, 2011

Israel Chemicals Ltd., which extracts minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizer, said fourth-quarter profit surged 21 percent as potash sales volumes and prices increased.

Net income rose to $245.4 million from $202.7 million in the year-earlier period, the company said in a statement to the Tel Aviv stock exchange today. Annual profit increased 32 percent to $1.02 billion. Revenue for 2010 climbed 25 percent to $5.69 billion as potash sales doubled.

Prices for agricultural nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus are increasing, as growing demand for food and unfavorable weather put a strain on global supplies of wheat, corn and soybeans. Potash, a form of potassium, climbed to about $606 a ton at the end of 2010, 13 percent more than at the end of September, according to a Bloomberg index of U.S. Midwest retail prices.

“Low channel inventory and rising grain prices led to a real recovery of the potash market,” said Gilad Alper, a Tel Aviv-based senior analyst at Meitav Ltd. Potash is mainly used to boost yields of rice, sugar cane, fruit and vegetables. India is the world’s second-biggest producer of rice, wheat and sugar.

Annual sales to the Asian market soared 46 percent, to Europe 32 percent and to South America 14 percent in 2010, the Tel Aviv-based company said. “Israel Chemicals sees India, China and Brazil as strategically important markets as they have a significant growth potential,” it said today.

The shares rose 0.3 percent to 59.17 shekels as of 2:31 p.m. in Tel Aviv. They have gained 18 percent in the past 12 months.

Editor:

To contact the reporter on this story: Ronit Goodman in Tel Aviv at rgoodman9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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