Potash Corp evaluating SQM, ICL stakes; other holdings 'strategic'

Thu May 21, 2015 12:34pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc (POT.TO: Quote) Chief Executive Jochen Tilk said on Thursday that he views the company’s stakes in fertilizer companies Sinofert Holdings (0297.HK: Quote) and Arab Potash Company APOT.AM as “strategic,” but continues to review whether to keep its shares in ICL (ICL.TA: Quote) and SQM SQMa.SN.

Tilk, speaking at a BMO (BMO.TO: Quote) investor conference in New York, said if Potash Corp could not build on its SQM and ICL minority stakes, it will consider whether it should keep them.

Potash Corp has control over how Jordan's Arab Potash Company markets its potash, and Tilk said the Sinofert stake gives Potash a window into the Chinese market.

But the company does not have as much influence as it wants over SQM and ICL.

Tilk said in an interview that he has not spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about whether he would permit a foreign company to take control of ICL, in which the government holds a golden share.

Potash Corp tried under former Chief Executive Bill Doyle to gain a majority stake in ICL, but ran into strong opposition and backed off in 2013.

Tilk, who took the Potash Corp helm last July, announced a review in December of the company's four major equity stakes, which at the time were worth $4.5 billion.

He said on Thursday he did not want to signal any plans for SQM and ICL investments.   Continued...

Jochen Tilk, who takes over as Potash Corp's chief executive officer in July, attends the company's annual general meeting in Saskatoon, May 15, 2014. REUTERS/Derek Mortensen