November 4, 2012 / 9:23 AM / in 5 years

Israel to examine Potash takeover of ICL, seeks clarifications

TEL AVIV, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Israel is still open to considering an acquisition of Israel Chemicals (ICL) by Canada’s Potash Corp, a Finance Ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

Ministry officials have asked Potash to clarify its proposed takeover bid for ICL, the world’s sixth-largest potash producer.

“Then we will consider the interests of all the different ministries and the regulators,” the spokesman said.

The ministry had said on Thursday the deal was not under consideration due to “professional reservations” but officials have since asked Potash to clarify its intentions.

Potash Corp, the world’s No 1 fertiliser producer, last week said it has been in talks with Israeli officials on acquiring ICL.

The government holds a golden share in ICL so any deal would need approval from the Finance Ministry’s Government Companies Authority, the prime minister and the Antitrust Authority, among others, to increase its 13.84 percent stake in ICL.

Conglomerate Israel Corp owns 52.3 percent of ICL.

“After receiving a clarification from the Finance Ministry regarding the existence of talks to obtain the position of the various government authorities regarding a deal .... the company confirms that what it reported in (last week‘s) announcement still stands,” it said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Sunday.

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