Israel Corp loss deepens as shipping, electric car units falter

JERUSALEM, March 21 Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:12am EDT

JERUSALEM, March 21 (Reuters) - Israel Corp, one of Israel's largest holding companies, reported a sharply wider loss in the fourth quarter due to steeper losses at its shipping and electric car units and a smaller profit at its chemicals subsidiary.

Israel Corp said on Thursday its quarterly loss deepened to $196 million from $25 million a year earlier.

Hurt by tough global economic conditions, shipping unit Zim recorded a loss of $239 million in the fourth quarter versus $151 million a year earlier.

The Better Place electric car venture, in which Israel Corp has a key stake, made a quarterly loss of $231 million, down from a $59 million loss in the October-December period in 2011.

Israel Corp is also the parent of Israel Chemicals (ICL) , chipmaker TowerJazz and Oil Refineries , and holds a stake in Chinese-Israeli carmaker Qoros.

ICL, the world's sixth largest potash producer, posted a $210 million profit in the fourth quarter, compared with $370 million a year earlier.

Oil Refineries, Israel's biggest refinery, narrowed its quarterly loss to $72 million from $75 million. TowerJazz's loss was unchanged at $24 million.

Qoros, a joint venture between Israel Corp and Chery Automobile Co posted a quarterly loss of $55 million, compared with $13 million a year earlier.