UPDATE 1-Israel Chemicals optimistic govt will ease tax plan
* First-quarter adjusted net profit $193 mln
* Average analyst forecast was for $144 mln net profit
* First-quarter revenue down 13 pct to $1.4 bln
* Workers strike weighs on sales
* CEO says has met with Finance Ministry over tax hike plan (Recasts, adds details, CEO comments, share reaction)
By Steven Scheer
JERUSALEM, May 13 (Reuters) - Israel Chemicals (ICL) said on Wednesday it was optimistic the country's incoming government might water down a plan to impose stiff taxes on mining firms.
The plan, drafted before March elections and which still needs parliamentary approval, would levy a progressive tax of 25 percent after miners reach an annual return on investment of 14 percent, rising to 42 percent for returns over 20 percent.
ICL Chief Executive Stefan Borgas said he met Finance Ministry officials this month, but not incoming Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, and there was a new political willingness to work out a deal beneficial to both sides. Continued...