Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL) headed for the highest close in more than a month after potash companies worldwide rose on speculation the leading bidder for OAO Uralkali (URKA), the world’s biggest producer of the fertilizer, will stabilize the market.
Shares of the Dead Sea minerals harvester gained 6.4 percent to 29.92 shekels, the highest since July 29, at 3:11 p.m. in Tel Aviv. Israel Corp., which holds a 52.29 percent stake in the chemicals company, advanced 8 percent to 1,740 shekels. The benchmark TA-25 Index added 1.7 percent.
Russian entrepreneur Vladimir Kogan, a longtime ally of President Vladimir Putin, is the leading bidder for the Berezniki, Russia-based producer, whose split in July from a potash marketing venture with Belarus roiled the $20 billion market. Belaruskali has said it won’t renew cooperation unless the Russian producer changes its strategy or owner.
“Signs that the sector will have more clarity and that the recent uncertainty are ending will be positive for the whole sector, which helps ICL,” said Daniel Goldstein, global head of sales at Tel Aviv-based IBI-Israel Brokerage and Investments Ltd., by text message.
Global potash producers rose on Sept. 13 as Uralkali holder Suleiman Kerimov was reported to sell his stake to Kogan. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT:US), the largest North American potash producer, climbed as much as 4.8 percent in New York. Plymouth, Minnesota-based competitor Mosaic Co. gained 4.8 percent and Calgary-based Agrium Inc. (AGU) climbed 2.3 percent.
Uralkali’s sale is seen as a “precursor event” to a renewal of the Belarusian Potash Co. export agency, its venture with Belaruskali, according to Mark Gulley, a New York-based analyst at BGC Partners LP.
“A lot of people believe that this is one of many steps to BPC getting back together again,” Gulley said by phone on Sept. 13.
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