29 March 2004 12:02 [Source: ICIS news]
The firm said it continued to reap the benefits of reorganisation and efficiency efforts in the three months ended
However, ICL had to face rising energy, sulphur and shipping costs, increasing competition in some segments due to continued global slowdown, and higher shekel-based expenses due to the appreciation of the currency vis-a-vis the dollar.
Group sales in Q4 were up 17% at $563.6m. Potash turnover rose significantly due to higher demand and the contribution of acquired Cleveland Potash Ltd, said ICL. Average prices for potash and fertilisers were higher as a result of strong demand and the strengthening of euro, it added.
After including a one-time charge of $16.8m for the writedown of production facilities and provisions for early retirement plans, ICL made a fourth quarter pre-tax loss of $10.5m. This compared with a profit of $18.9m in Q4-2002.
Net income in Q4 last year dropped 9.2% to $13.8m as reduced tax liabilities could not offset the one-time charges. Before these charges, net income rose 31% to $19.9m.
For the full year of 2003, ICL’s operating profits grew 6.1% to $210.7m on sales up 15% to a record $2.27bn. Pre-tax profits dropped 3.3% to $127.0m. Net income increased 12% to $103.1m and was up 30% at $119.9m before the one-time charges.
In Q4, the fertilisers division raised operating income by 49% to $21.6m on sales up 28% at $293.1m.
In the industrial products division (magnesia, bromine and chlorine), operating income fell 42% to $5.2m on revenues down 2.3% at $142.1m.
The performance products division (phosphate-based products and others) saw operating income fall 27% to $8.2m despite revenues rising 16% to $139.4m.
Operating losses in the metallurgy division were reduced by 31% to $2.5m although sales fell 11% to $17.6m.
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