JERUSALEM Aug 7 Israel Chemicals
promised dividend payouts and a programme of share buybacks as
it reported a 23 percent drop in quarterly net profit on
Wednesday and braced itself for more fallout from a sea change
on world potash markets.
Chairman Nir Gilad for the first time said the world's
sixth-largest producer of the key crop nutrient also intends to
list its shares on an international stock exchange and would
target regular distribution of dividends of up to 70 percent of
ICL's shares fell more than 20 percent, erasing some 10
billion shekels ($2.8 billion) from its market value, following
Uralkali's departure from one of the world's
two big potash cartels last month.
Company shares rose 1.9 percent in early trade in Tel Aviv
Its results in the second quarter were hurt by a fall in
prices of potash and reduced sales in China, pushing down
earnings to $316 million from $408 million a year earlier and
expectations of $323 million. Revenue slipped to $1.77 billion
from $1.91 billion.
ICL said Uralkali's decision raised the risk of lower prices
in the short run.
"But in the long term, higher demand would bring higher
prices," it said.
The company also said share repurchases or a one-time
dividend of up to $500 million were under review. It declared a
dividend of $221 million, or 17.4 cents per share, for the
second quarter, up from 16.7 cents a share in the first quarter.
ICL said the dividend plans were part of a strategic plan
approved by the board which also aimed at achieving profits that
exceed the market average and boosting revenues by a few hundred
million dollars a year by 2016.