JERUSALEM, March 19 (Reuters) - Israel Corp, one of Israel’s largest conglomerates, said on Wednesday it was examining the sale of up to 7 percent of Israel Chemicals (ICL) .
It said the sale of ICL, in which Israel Corp holds 52.3 percent, is part of ICL’s planned New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)listing. Israel Corp said the deal will likely take place during 2014.
“The aim of the transaction is to increase flexibility in the company’s capital structure and to create an infrastructure to reduce the firm’s net debt,” Israel Corp said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), calling ICL a “strategic holding.”
ICL, the fifth-largest company on the TASE, is the world’s sixth-largest producer of the crop nutrient potash and Israel Corp’s most lucrative holding. In November, ICL said it was preparing a dual listing of its shares on NYSE to aid its growth by improving access to international financial markets and providing flexibility in financing mergers and acquisitions.
No date for the offering on Wall Street has been announced.
Canada’s Potash Corp owns 14 percent of ICL. Attempts to increase its stake have been rebuffed by the Israeli government. Nearly 34 percent of ICL, which has a market value of 38.3 billion shekels, is traded on the TASE.
ICL’s shares were 1.4 percent lower in late trading in Tel Aviv, while Israel Corp gained 0.8 percent.
Separately, ICL on Wednesday confirmed it earned $195 million in the fourth quarter, down from $247 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 9 percent to $1.42 billion. Last month, ICL issued identical preliminary results. (Reporting by Steven Scheer)