ICL’s history begins in the early 20th century with the first efforts to extract minerals from the Dead Sea in Israel's South. After Israel's independence in 1948, the extraction of minerals from the Dead Sea carried on with the establishment of Dead Sea Works Ltd. as a state-owned company in the early fifties. During the same period, several other state-owned companies were created to extract minerals from the Negev Desert and transform them into chemical products. Over the years, many of these companies were joined to become today’s ICL (Israel Chemicals Ltd.). The company has also grown into a global entity through organic growth and acquisitions throughout the world.
Today, ICL is a global powerhouse in fertilizers and specialty chemicals with production activities located in Israel, Europe, the US, South America and China, and a worldwide marketing and logistics network. Nearly 50% of our sales derive from products manufactured outside of Israel, demonstrating the geographical diversity of our operations. We have expanded our global presence in established markets such as North America and Europe, as well as in targeted emerging regions, such as China, India and Brazil. Our expansion has also resulted from our acquisitions and the establishment of regional centers and joint ventures with strong, local partners. By focusing on products that contribute to the world’s long-term sustainability, we believe that we are enhancing our positioning in markets with strong long-term growth potential.
In parallel, during the past decade we have increased our investment in the safety of our operations while reducing our environmental footprint. For example, all of our segments have adopted the principles of Responsible Care, the global chemical industry's initiative to drive continuous improvement in its performance according to health, safety and environmental (HSE) parameters. With the goal of sharing “best practices” between business units, we have also established Centers of Excellence in a broad variety of operational areas, including R&D, HR, Safety, Accounting/Finance and others.
As we move forward, we are committed to managing our business in ways that lead to sustainable growth, and to making ICL one of the world’s leading companies in environmental protection and corporate responsibility.
- 1968: ICL established by the State of Israel as a government-owned company.
- 1975: ICL expanded through the consolidation of additional government-owned entities, including Dead Sea Works, the companies that comprised Rotem Amfert Negev, Bromine Compounds and TAMI, ICL’s research arm.
- 1992: the beginning of the Israeli government’s privatization of ICL, listing its shares on the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) and issuing a special non-transferable “State Share” to the State of Israel to protect the government’s vital interests.
- 1995: the State of Israel completes the privatization of ICL and sells its controlling interest (~24.9% of the Company’s equity) to Israel Corp., then controlled by the Eisenberg family.
- 1999: the Ofer Group acquired control of Israel Corp. Between 1995 and 2000, the Government sold its remaining shares in the Company. Today, approximately 70% of ICL’s shares are held directly and indirectly by the public.
- 1999 - 2001: ICL’s management initiated an extensive reorganization and efficiency process, executing a strategy that established three core operating segments, took advantage of synergies between business units, increased efficiency and reduced operating costs. To sharpen its focus on core businesses, the Company divested non-core business units valued at approximately $265 million.
- 2001 - 2012: During the past decade, the Company has expanded significantly, primarily by increasing its production capacity and global distribution, establishing regional offices and joint ventures, and investing $1.7 billion in acquisitions (including acquisition of ICL subsidiaries). These acquisitions included (among others):
- Iberpotash (Spain) and Cleveland Potash Ltd. (UK) potash mines to expand ICL Fertilizers’ raw materials resources while increasing its production capacity;
- Astaris LLC, a major US manufacturer and marketer of phosphate salts, to establish ICL Performance Products as a world leader in food and technical phosphates with a strategic foothold in US markets;
- Supresta LLC (US), a leading manufacturer and marketer of phosphorus-based flame retardants, to diversify the ICL Industrial Products’ flame retardants portfolio;
- The European water business of Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, to expand ICL Performance Product’s water treatment operations;
- The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company’s Global Professional business (now Everris), Fuentes, Spain’s largest producer of specialty fertilizers, and Nutrisi Holdings, a Belgian holding company that owns 50% of NU3, the world’s largest manufacturer of soluble NPK fertilizer components. These acquisitions have established our ICL Specialty Fertilizers unit as a global $750 million specialty fertilizers company with a broad product portfolio of branded products, global sales force and best-in-class R&D and technology;
- Among ICL’s activities in China in the areas of fertilizers, water treatment, food additives, hygiene and disinfection products and flame retardants are five joint ventures (“JVs”) with Chinese firms. These include a JV between ICL Performance Products business unit, BK Guilini, and YTH Group for the production of phosphate-based food additives in Kunming, Yunnan province, and a JV between ICL Industrial Products’ Sino-Brom Compounds Co. with Haihua Group for the production of flame retardants and inorganic bromines in Weifang, Shandong Province.