Canadian fertilizer giant Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan is seeking approval from the Israeli government to increase its stake in rival Israel Chemicals Ltd. to 25 percent, according to various media reports.
If the application is granted, it will give us one more option in our use of free cash flow when we are making investment decisions, company spokesman Bill Johnson said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. It is not a foregone conclusion that we would acquire any additional shares, but we are seeking the flexibility.
Saskatoon-based PotashCorp currently holds a 13.9 percent stake in ICL, which extracts minerals from Israel's Dead Sea and is a major producer of potash and phosphate fertilizers, phosphoric acid, elemental bromine, magnesium and specialty chemicals, according to the company website.
Joseph Wolf, an analyst with Barclays Capital, told Reuters he believes PotashCorp's request is a positive catalyst for the shares in the short term, as there has not been that much stock-specific good news lately. Wolf's rating on ICL is overweight, reported Reuters.
In addition, it highlights that Potash sees value in ICL beyond any change in royalty fee or Dead Sea salt harvest cost, Wolf told the news service.
ICL shares rose 2.4 percent Monday to close at 36.70 shekels ($9.66) in Tel Aviv trading, while PotashCorp. shares fell 1.38 percent to C$40.05 at 12:16 pm in Toronto.