ICL has signed an agreement with SQM, a Chilean company with whom ICL currently owns NUTRISI Holdings (“Nutrisi”), to purchase SQM’s 50% share in Nutrisi, thereby achieving 100% ownership. Nutrisi is a Belgian holding company which is a 50% owner (in partnership with the Norwegian YARA) of NU3, the world’s largest manufacturer of soluble NPK fertilizer components. NU3 owns two large manufacturing plants in Belgium and southern Holland, and sells its products throughout Europe and other global markets.
This transaction is another step forward in ICL’s strategy to become one of the world’s major global Specialty Fertilizer players. It complements additional strategic Specialty Fertilizers acquisitions that ICL carried out previously during 2011, including Everris (previously Scotts Global Pro), a multinational manufacturer and distributor of high-quality specialty fertilizers, including controlled-release, slow-release and soluble fertilizers; and Fuentes Fertilizantes, Spain’s largest manufacturer and distributor of soluble and liquid fertilizers, NPK components and conventional fertilizers. It also follows the announcement by Zuari Rotem Specialty Fertilizers Ltd., ICL’s joint venture operation in India, that it intends to expand the manufacturing capacity of its existing soluble fertilizer manufacturing plant and to establish two additional plants in northern and eastern India.
ICL views the Specialty Fertilizers market as especially strategic for accelerating its growth due to its 5%-8% annual growth rate, which is double the growth rate of conventional fertilizer markets.
Commenting on the news, Mr. Yossi Zidon, CEO of ICL Specialty Fertilizers, said, “This strategic transaction is just one of the steps that we have taken since the beginning of the year to establish ICL as one of the leading global players in the Specialty Fertilizers industry. Sales of Specialty Fertilizers have been growing rapidly throughout the world due to the widespread adoption of advanced agricultural techniques and the industry’s growing environmental needs. As a result, we view Specialty Fertilizers as a strategic market that will help us accelerate our growth over the long term.
“We have therefore been pursuing a number of activities designed to strengthen our Specialty Fertilizer business, including the acquisitions of Fuentes Fertilizantes and Everris. These activities are transforming ICL into a leading Specialty Fertilizers player in Europe and India, while also giving us a uniquely global Specialty Fertilizers marketing, distribution and logistical network."
In parallel with its expansion activities, ICL continues to seek out ways to rationalize its holdings where possible. Having expanded its internal capabilities in Spain, Nutrisi sold its holdings in Fertilizantes Naturales S.A., a Spanish fertilizer trading company, to SQM.