Israel Chemicals in talks buy Haifa Chemicals more than $1 bn

Israel Chemicals in talks to buy Haifa Chemicals for more than $1 bn

5:19 AM, 9th October 2018
Israel Chemicals’ Dead Sea facility.
Israel Chemicals, who facility in the Dead Sea is seen, is in negotiations to buy Haifa chemcials, according to a person familiar with the matter. Photo: Reuters

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL: Israel Chemicals Ltd (ICL), a developer of fertilizers and other chemical products, is in talks to buy Haifa Chemicals Ltd, a supplier of specialty fertilizers, for more than a $1 billion in cash and stock, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Tel Aviv-based ICL, which focuses primarily on agriculture, food and engineered materials, has long been seen as a logical buyer for Haifa, according to industry observers. The two firms have a history of potential merger discussions and have major assets located close to each other in Israel.

The deal talks, which could still break down, come after recent consolidation in the fertilizer sector, including the merger of Canadian fertilizer and chemical companies Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc and Agrium Inc which closed at the start of this year.

The Israeli deal could result in synergies approaching $100 million a year, the person familiar with the matter said. The cash component of the deal is expected to be around $600 million.

In an emailed statement, a Haifa spokeswoman said that the company is “always targeted” but “there is nothing new regarding the ownership,” as no deal has been done.

Haifa was founded in 1966 to try to capitalize on Israel’s natural resources of potash from the Dead Sea and phosphates in the Negev region. The group has been under private ownership since 1989 and is owned by a US holding company controlled by the Trump Group.

The deal would see Trump Group founders Jules and Eddie Trump, who are not related to President Trump, become major shareholders in the combined company.

ICL’s mining and production sites are located in Israel, Europe, North and South America, and China. It employs 13,000 people world-wide according to its website. Haifa’s main production plant is located in Israel and additional production facilities are located in Lunel, France and Savannah, Ga.

© Wall Street Journal

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