Research and development
In 2015, we significantly expanded our research activities with third parties in our core areas: agriculture, food, and industrial materials. Also included in these activities are: establishment of an agronomical research collaboration between ICL group and the Volcani Center, whose activities are based in Gilat in the Southern part of Israel, and establishment of a research center in Kunming in China for development of phosphorous based processes and products as part of the transaction for establishment of the YPH JV (joint venture). The incubator (ICL Innovation) operations, which focus mainly on technologies in the initial stages of development and are high risk in comparison with ordinary research and development projects, include 7 on-going projects and 4 new approved ones. During 2015, two projects were transferred from ICL Innovation to two ICL business units for further development and commercialization.
The cross segment development teams that were set up in 2014 by the ICL R&D Management Forum, headed by the CTO, are continuing to work together based on common areas of interest and operations in order to promote the application of new products and technologies.
Our R&D expenses, net were $83 million, $87 million and $74 million in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Fertilizers segment’s R&D activities in 2015 focused on the following items:
Our Fertilizers segment’s total R&D expenses in 2015 were approximately $22 million.
The R&D activities of our Industrial Products segment are part of the Company’s strategic plan. The global research activities are based on internal research together with joint activities with a wide range of universities and research institutes along with other long term innovative activities. The units execute activities directed at the present and future needs of the market. The activities will be focused primarily on identifying additional uses for bromine or its derivatives, as well as developments in the area of magnesia and phosphorus-based flame retardants.
The R&D activities of our Industrial Products segment are as follows:
Our Industrial Products segment’s total R&D expenses in 2015 were approximately $25 million.
The principal R&D activities of our Performance Products segment in 2015 were as follows:
Advanced Additives – Phosphoric acid varieties and its downstream products, phosphate salt specialties:
Food Specialties – Development of innovative formulations for modifying texture and stability of processed food: