Israel Chemicals mulls halt to potash mining in Spain

The global potash market has been weak over the past year.

Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL) may follow its competitors and suspend part of its potash mining operations. Reports in trade magazines claim that Israel Chemicals may suspend potash production in Spain for six months, beginning in January. The company acquired the business in 1998.

Israel Chemicals division ICL Fertilizers said in response, "As part of the streamlining measures that the company is undertaking to adjust its operations to the global economic crisis, and to adjust output to demand, as the company has announced in the past, it is reviewing the possibility of temporarily closing potash mines in Europe. This measure is being coordinated with all the relevant parties."

ICL Fertilizers added, "The company's inventory of potash meets the market's needs, so supply will not be affected. ICL Fertilizers continues to produce potash as planned at its Sdom facility."

Migdal Capital Markets sell side unit manager Amir Adar said, "If the shut-down is carried out, it will be a further sign that the European segment of the company's potash mining business will not be a full partner in the recovery of demand next year."

The global potash market has been weak over the past year. The rise in demand and prices halted in mid-2008 with the collapse of commodities prices.

Israel Chemicals' share rose 1.9% in morning trading to NIS 51.23.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 2, 2009

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009

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