JERUSALEM May 10 Fertiliser producer Israel
Chemicals (ICL) reported on Wednesday higher
quarterly net income and sales, buoyed by the company's
speciality solutions division and growth in 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 company reported a modest sequential recovery in potash
prices and year over year volumes.
Revenue for the first quarter rose to $1.3 billion from
$1.27 billion a year earlier and net income rose to $68 million
from $66 million, in line with estimates.
ICL, which has exclusive rights in Israel to mine minerals
from the Dead Sea, also declared a quarterly dividend of $34
Starting last year, ICL's dividend payout ratio will
comprise up to 50 percent of its adjusted annual net income,
compared with a prior policy of up to 70 percent.
Potash sales rose to 1 million tonnes from 917,00 tonnes a
year earlier, even though production dropped to 1 million tonnes
from 1.3 million tonnes.
Chief Executive Asher Grinbaum said the company benefited in
the first quarter from "the good performance of our speciality
solutions business, particularly the bromine business, which was
supported by the efficient pricing strategy and by reducing
costs in the business unit."
ICL, a subsidiary of conglomerate Israel Corp,
also said it filed on Wednesday an "investment treaty claim"
against the government of Ethiopia, where the company has
recently closed a potash project.
ICL said the Ethiopian government had imposed an "illegal
tax assessment" against it and failed to provide it with
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Mark Potter)