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ICL Completes Acquisition of Astaris Business and Assets
Sunday November 6, 3:52 am ET

Acquisition establishes ICL as a world leader in food & technical phosphates and provides ICL with a strategic foothold in the U.S.

TEL AVIV, Israel, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Israel Chemicals Ltd. ("ICL") (TASE: CHIM), a multinational fertilizer and specialty chemicals company, today announced that it has completed the acquisition of the business and assets, of Astaris LLC, a major US manufacturer and marketer of specialty phosphates. The closing followed the receipt of all required regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other conditions. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. acted as sole financial advisor to ICL on this transaction.

Astaris is a North American leader in specialty and food phosphoric acid and phosphate salts that was formerly a joint venture between FMC Corporation and Solutia Inc. with revenues of approximately $350 million per year in 2004, 570 employees and manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Brazil. After the acquisition, Astaris will operate under the name of ICL Performance Products LP and will be a key component in ICL's global Performance Products business segment. The addition of Astaris' business is considered highly complimentary to ICL's specialty phosphate activities in Israel, Europe, Asia and South America.

The acquisition will give ICL a strong platform for the global expansion of its specialty food additive and phosphate salt sales, and access to markets in North and South America. With a strengthened technological and application base and vertically-integrated value line resulting from the acquisition, ICL Performance Products will utilize its production facilities in North and South America, Asia, Europe and Israel to produce a broad variety of high-end products, including food and technical grade phosphoric acid, phosphate salts and phosphate-based food additives.

"The Astaris acquisition is a significant strategic move that will transform the existing ICL Performance Products segment into a global leader with approximately $1 billion in sales per year and a strong presence in all major markets," commented Akiva Mozes, President and CEO of ICL. "We believe that the synergies arising from this acquisition will enable ICL to expand its production of higher value-added, higher-margin downstream products and compete more effectively in world markets, thereby creating additional value for ICL shareholders."

The existing activities of the two operations are highly synergistic with complementary markets, application and product expertise and technologies that provide the ICL segment with a strong foundation for future growth. Among others, the two companies are highly synergistic, such as manufacturing locations, target regions and product lines: Astaris operates production facilities in the US and Brazil and concentrates its sales efforts primarily in North and South America, while the existing ICL Performance Products segment has manufacturing facilities in Europe, Israel, China and South America (Brazil) and concentrates its sales in Europe and the Far East. The two entities' product lines are also complementary: Astaris focuses on thermal phosphoric acid, phosphate salts, phosphorus and derivatives, while ICL Performance Products focuses on purified phosphoric acid, phosphate salts and phosphate based food additives. With the acquisition, ICL anticipates taking full advantage of its extensive logistical and marketing capabilities, and favorable access to raw materials to increase the competitiveness of ICL Performance Products` expanded business activities.

About the ICL Group

ICL is a multinational company with leading positions in potash and bromine. ICL's 2004 revenues were approximately $2.7 billion with $354 million in operating income. In 2004, over 92% of ICL's sales were outside of Israel and approximately 45% of ICL's total sales were of products that ICL manufactured outside of Israel.

ICL has direct access to low-cost, high-quality materials through an exclusive concession from the State of Israel to extract minerals from the Israeli side of the Dead Sea. ICL extracts from the Dead Sea potash, bromine, magnesium chloride and sodium chloride. ICL also mines phosphate rock from Israel's Negev Desert and potash and salt from its mines in Spain and the United Kingdom.

ICL's principal manufacturing and production facilities are located in Israel, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and France. ICL has additional manufacturing and production facilities in Austria, Belgium, Turkey, China, Brazil, Argentina and Australia. ICL also has marketing offices and distribution and logistics facilities worldwide. ICL enjoys transportation and logistical advantages due to the proximity of its production facilities to seaports in both Israel and Europe.

Source: Israel Chemicals Ltd.

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