Israel Chemicals swings to Q3 profit, specialty business dominant

JERUSALEM, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Israel Chemicals (ICL) swung to a profit in the third quarter, reporting on Wednesday its highest quarterly sales in three years, boosted by growth in its advanced additives business.

ICL, which produces about a third of the world’s bromine and is the sixth-largest potash producer, posted quarterly net income of $84 million, compared with a $340 million loss a year earlier.

Revenue rose 4.1 percent to $1.4 billion, which the company said was driven by increased demand for fire safety products at its advanced additives business in the wake of intense wildfires in North America and Europe.

This more than offset weaker sales in phosphate fertilizers, though ICL said it benefited from favorable pricing in potash and bromine based products relative to the prior period. External potash sales increased 2 percent to $1.32 billion and the average price for potash jumped 9 percent to $217 per tonne.

“We remain committed to balancing our business by growing our specialty businesses which, for the first time, accounted for over half of our sales as well as nearly 70 percent of our operating profit in the third quarter,” said Asher Grinbaum, acting chief executive.

ICL, which has exclusive rights in Israel to mine minerals from the Dead Sea, said it would pay a quarterly dividend of about $57 million, or 4.4 cents per share. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Tova Cohen)