JERUSALEM, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Fertiliser producer Israel Chemicals (ICL) reported a smaller than expected drop in fourth-quarter profit and revenue on Wednesday, helped by its speciality products and record potash sales.
ICL, which produces about a third of the world's bromine and is the sixth-largest potash producer, has sought to counter low commodities prices by diversifying into products such as advanced additives and speciality fertilisers.
The Israel Corp subsidiary, which has exclusive permits in Israel to extract minerals from the Dead Sea, said that the prolonged commodities downturn had reduced minerals margins and that potash prices remain its main challenge this year despite a modest recovery from trough levels.
Net income excluding one-off items was $114 million for the three months to Dec. 31, against $180 million a year earlier and a forecast of $73 million by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue dropped 6 percent to $1.34 billion, beating a forecast of $1.29 billion.
ICL said it would pay a quarterly dividend of 4.4 cents per share, down from the third-quarter dividend of 5 cents. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by David Goodman)