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, this activity continued with the establishment of Dead Sea Works Ltd., a state-owned company. During the early fifties several other government-owned companies were created to extract minerals from the Negev Desert and to transform them into chemical products. In 1975, ICL expanded through the consolidation of these companies, including Rotem Amfert Negev, Bromine Compounds and TAMI (IMI), ICL’s research arm. ICL also grew through organic growth and acquisitions.
In 1992, the Israeli government began its privatization of ICL, first by listing 19% of its shares on the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE). In 1995, the State of Israel sells its controlling interest (24.9% of the Company’s equity) to Israel Corp., then controlled by the Eisenberg family. In 1997, Israel Corp. acquired an additional 17% of ICL’s shares, and a year later – another 10%. Also in 1998, the State sold 12% of ICL’s shares to the general public, as well as 9% to Potash Corp.
In the late 1990’s, the Ofer Group acquired control of Israel Corp., including ICL. During the past decade and a half, ICL has expanded significantly, primarily by increasing its production capacity and global distribution, establishing regional offices and joint ventures, and through synergistic acquisitions.
In 2018, Potash Corp sells its holdings in ICL.
Today, ICL is a global powerhouse in fertilizers and specialty chemicals, fulfilling essential needs in three core end markets – Agriculture, Food and Engineered Materials by utilizing an integrated value chain based on specialty minerals.
- 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 sells its controlling interest (~24.9% of the Company’s equity) to Israel Corp., then controlled by the Eisenberg family. Between 1995 and 2000, the Government sold its remaining shares in the Company.
- 1999: the Ofer Group acquired control of Israel Corp.
- 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: The Company expanded significantly through acquisitions (including acquisition of ICL subsidiaries). These acquisitions included (among others):
- Iberpotash(Spain) and Cleveland Potash Ltd. (UK) potash mines;
- Astaris LLC, a major US manufacturer and marketer of phosphate salts;
- Supresta LLC(US), a leading manufacturer and marketer of phosphorus-based flame retardants; and
- The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company’s Global Professional business (nowEverris), 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.
- 2012: Launch of ICL Innovation, ICL’s technology incubator and open innovation arm established by the company to identify growth opportunities and new uses for ICL’s specialty minerals, while pursuing increased efficiency for its production processes.
2013: ICL implements its broad-based “Next Step Forward” strategy aimed at creating a more balanced, integrated and efficient company focused on specialty end markets. The strategy includes three strategic ‘pillars’ including growth initiatives, efficiency programs and cross-organizational enabling platforms. The strategy is designed to strengthen and enrich ICL’s resource base – mineral resources, processing know-how market positioning and logistical and organizational capabilities – while increasing ICL’s efficiency and lowering its costs.
- 2013 – 2015: The Company makes several additional acquisitions and strategic alliances aimed at strengthening its business units:
- Hagesud Group, a leading German producer of premium spice blends and food additives used in meat processing;
- AmegA Sciences, a producer of specialty agriculture products;
- Auxquimia, a Spanish producer of firefighting foams and fire extinguisher additives, acquired by ICL Fire Safety;
- Prolactic GmbH, an Austrian-based leading producer of functional dairy proteins for the food and beverage industries; and
- Fosbrasil, Latin America’s primary producer of purified phosphoric acid.
- 2014: ICL enters into a $450 million strategic joint venture with Yunnan Yuntianhua, the world’s third largest phosphate producer, to create a fully vertical, integrated phosphate business in China with a world-scale phosphate rock mine, R&D facility, and downstream operations. The JV includes a $270 million investment by ICL for a 15% strategic holding of Yuntianhua.
- 2014: ICL inaugurates a new European region headquarters in Amsterdam as part of the company’s One ICL platform to improve efficiency and operational excellence, as well as strengthen business in Europe.
- 2014: ICL initiates a $435 million project to increase the capacity, decrease the cost and reduce the environmental footprint of its potash mining operations at ICL Iberia. ICL also enters into a JV with AkzoNobel for ICL’s production of vacuum salt and white potash at ICL Iberia to be marketed by AkzoNobel.
- 2014: ICL lists its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), resulting in their dual listing on both the NYSE and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).
- 2014: ICL launches a £38 million program to expand ICL Fertilizers’ mining and production of Polysulphate, a multi-nutrient sulphate fertilizer, at its ICL UK facility.
- 2015: ICL Food Specialties expands its Ladenburg, Germany food laboratory and opened a new applications laboratory in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil to create customized solutions for South American and other customers.
- 2015: ICL and the Catalan government sign a strategic cooperation agreement committing to the provision of regulatory, infrastructure and transportation support for ICL Iberia’s operations.
- 2016: The Company restructures its organization to better align with its strategy to enable the continuation of its strategic growth by creating two operating divisions: Essential Minerals and Specialty Solutions.