Meretz chair Zehava Gal-On criticized a potential merger between Israel Chemicals and Canada's Potash Corporation, saying Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is "selling the Dead Sea to the Canadians."
The sale of Israel Chemicals, which controls the domestic potash market, to the hands of the Canadian potash company, is a transfer an Israel's most expensive natural resource to the hands of foreigners," Gal-On said. "Past governments worked to avoid such a scenario, but Netanyahu, as is his habit, does not hesitate to promote businesses that benefit tycoons, even when we're talking about steps that are extreme and irreversible. Netanyahu masquerades as a patriot but he sells Israel's natural resources without blinking."
Canada's Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan is seeking to merge with Israel Chemicals, in which it holds a 13.84% stake. In a statement to the TASE Wednesday, Israel Chemicals controlling shareholder, Israel Corporation said, "The company confirms that it is aware that Canada's Potash Corporation is in contact with various government authorities, and has even met with the Israeli prime minister, about a possible merger of Israel Chemicals with Potash. Top company executives are present at Potash's meetings with the Israeli government."
"No deal has been formulated, and no business approach has been made by Potash to Israel Chemicals," it added. "There is no assurance that business negotiations will begin between the company and Potash, no assurance that a deal will be reached, or that the parties will sign an agreement, and no assurance that an agreement, if reached, will be closed."
Israel Corporation, controlled by Idan Ofer through Ofer Holdings Group, owns 52.3% of Israel Chemicals.