Bloomberg News

ICL Headed for Biggest Gain in Two Weeks on Government Talks

December 15, 2011

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Israel Chemicals Ltd., which extracts minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizer and potash, headed for the biggest gain in two weeks after the Finance Ministry said talks with the company will conclude soon.

The shares rose 1.7 percent to 34.80 shekels as of 2:36 p.m. in Tel Aviv, moving toward the biggest gain since Nov. 30. The talks were centered around royalties and salt harvesting from the Dead Sea, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

“Uncertainty declines as we get closer to an agreement,” Guil Bashan, an analyst at I.B.I-Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said by phone. “An agreement is better than no agreement, which could lead to one-sided decisions and laws by the government.”

The Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, is popular for the restorative powers of its mud baths and mineral waters. Hotels on its shores are in danger of flooding due to growing salt deposits that are a byproduct of potash harvesting. The process leaves behind salt that builds up on the seabed, pushing the water higher.

Israel Chemicals may be forced to pay as much as 5 billion shekels ($1.31 billion) to preserve the tourist site as the government seeks to save hotels from flooding.

--Editors: Ash Kumar, Peter Branton

-0- Dec/14/2011 12:56 GMT

-0- Dec/14/2011 13:03 GMT

To contact the reporter on this story: Shoshanna Solomon in Tel Aviv at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at -0- Dec/14/2011 12:42 GMT

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