Israel Corporation (TASE: ILCO) chairman Amir Elstein met Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird over the weekend at the World Economic Forum at Davos. They reportedly discussed the sale of Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL) to Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (NYSE; TSX: POT).
Israel Corp. declined to comment on the matter to "Globes".
Potash Corporation owns 13.8% of Israel Chemicals, which is controlled by Israel Corp. Israel Corp. is waiting for the Israeli government to approve the merger. The Ministry of Finance has not held in-depth discussions on the deal, because of the elections, but now that the elections are over, the new government will discuss the deal at the appropriate level. The government owns a golden share in Israel Chemicals, which means that it must approve the merger.
There have been talks about an Israel Chemicals-Potash Corporation deal with the Israeli government. In December, Potash Corporation president and CEO William Doyle met government officials, who asked him for details about the deal, specifically about Potash Corporation's intentions about the merger if the government approves it.
The Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Finance agree that if a deal is signed and closed, the government will make sure to protect all its rights.
The Ministry of Finance is leaning toward approving an Israel Chemicals-Potash Corporation merger. Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer does not oppose it either. In an interview two months ago, he said, "In terms of economic activity, if the company continues production in Israel, there is no reason not to sell. The profits will be sent abroad instead of staying in Israel, but the main thing that concerns us is a loss of jobs, and that is unlikely to happen."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 27, 2013
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