Bloomberg News

ICL Advances Most in More Than Month on Discount to Potash Corp.

February 05, 2012

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Israel Chemicals Ltd. gained the most in more than a month on investor speculation the shares of the harvester of chemicals from the Dead Sea are cheap compared with competitor Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.

ICL rose 3.7 percent, the biggest jump since Dec. 25, to 40.54 shekels at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv. Israel Chemicals’ drop of 34 percent over the past 12 months has left the shares valued at 8.9 times estimated earnings. That compares with a decline of 24 percent and an estimated price-to-earnings ratio of 13 times for the Saskatoon, Canada-based company.

“It’s possible that investors have started to pay attention to the relative underperformance of ICL versus international peers, notably Potash Corp.,” said Zach Herzog, equity-sales trader at the Tel Aviv-based Psagot Investment House Ltd.

In December, Potash asked Israel for approval to boost its holding in ICL to as much as 25 percent, from its current 14 percent. “Some investors may think there may be some movement on this front,” Herzog added.

Israel Corp., which owns 52 percent of Israel Chemicals, closed at the highest level since Jan. 4, rising 1.5 percent to 2,396 shekels.

--Editors: Claudia Maedler, Susan Lerner

To contact the reporters on this story: Gwen Ackerman in Jerusalem at gackerman@bloomberg.net; Shoshanna Solomon in Tel Aviv at ssolomon22@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net


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