Israel Chemical puts IDE up for sale

Israel Chemicals (ICL) is selling its desalination engineering arm, IDE Technologies. The decision to dispose of the business followed days of speculation after the chemical firm announced a plan to focus on its core interests.

IDE is expected to fetch about US$ 1 billion. A sale to a non-Israeli buyer will open up Arab markets currently unavailable while it is under Israeli ownership.

The firm has completed some of the world's largest reverse osmosis desalination plants and will operate the giant Carlsbad plant under construction in California. ICL at the end of October announced lay offs at IDE which currently stand at about 70. It agreed also to sell its German water-treatment business, APW, to Japanese water company Kurita Water Industries for € 250 million (US$ 317 million) and unveiled its core interests strategy sparking speculation over the fate of IDE.

ICL has decided to sell a number of businesses, including IDE Technologies. The company is jointly held with Delek Group owned by Israeli business magnate Yitzhak Tshuva, with each party holding 50%.

Israeli financial press reported sources close to ICL that the decision to sell off IDE Technologies was "theoretical", "and did not indicate that negotiations were underway.

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