UPDATE 1-Israel finance minister opposes Israel Chem sale to Potash Corp

Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:33am EDT
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* Lapid: to wage belligerent policy to preserve country's resources

* To set up panel to re-examine state's rights to natural resources

* ICL shares fall 4.3 pct, Israel Corp down 7 pct (Adds details, background, share reaction)

By Tova Cohen

TEL AVIV, April 10 (Reuters) - Israel's new finance minister Yair Lapid came out against the sale of fertiliser maker Israel Chemicals to Canada's Potash Corp, sending shares in ICL and its parent company lower.

Lapid, a former TV anchor whose upstart centrist party was the biggest surprise in Israel's January election, was named finance minister last month.

"Lapid advised his ministry's senior officials he intends to wage a belligerent policy to preserve the natural treasures of the State of Israel," Lapid's spokeswoman said in a statement.

The spokeswoman quoted Lapid as saying: "The state of Israel's natural resources are a public asset and the Israeli public should benefit from them."

Potash Corp, the world's No. 1 fertiliser producer, is seeking to raise its stake in ICL from 14 percent but Israel's government has a golden share in ICL, giving it a veto right.   Continued...