UPDATE 1-Prices, royalties concerns cloud Israel Chemicals profit
* Net profit $305 mln vs $286 mln forecast
* Revenue $1.64 bln vs $1.61 bln forecast
* Potash sales up 42 pct to 1.31 mln tonnes
* Exploring phosphate mining sites outside of Israel
By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV, May 13 (Reuters) - Israel Chemicals (ICL)'s forecast-beating first-quarter profits were overshadowed by worries about potash prices on Monday, and a government proposal to examine state royalties on natural resources also distracted from the firm's healthy order books.
ICL's sales of potash, a nutrient which improves crop yields, rose 42 percent from the year-ago period to 1.31 million tonnes and the company said increasing volumes in both potash and phosphate fertiliser compensated for lower prices.
Net profit in the quarter rose six percent to $305 million from $289 million a year earlier and revenue grew nine percent to $1.64 billion. ICL had been forecast to earn $286 million on revenue of $1.61 billion, according to a Reuters poll.
ICL said it signed deals to supply 660,000 tonnes of potash to China in the first half of the year and 920,000 tonnes of potash to India - 100,000 more than initially agreed - including options for 50,000 tonnes, from April 2013 to January 2014. Continued...