Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL), one of the world’s leading fertilizer and specialty chemical companies, bought out its partner in the Belgian fertilizer components maker Nutrisi Holdings, Santiago-based Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile SA (SQM). The two companies owned Nutrisi in equal shares. SQM, also known as Soquimich, Chile’s biggest fertilizer producer and exporter.
Nutrisi and Norway’s Yara International ASA own in equal shares NU3, the world’s largest manufacturer of soluble NPK. NU3 owns two large manufacturing plants in Belgium and southern Holland, and sells its products throughout Europe and other global markets.
ICL said that the acquisition is part of its strategy to become one of the world’s major global specialty fertilizer producers. The global specialty fertilizer market is growing by 5-8% a year, double the growth rate of conventional fertilizer markets. The deal follows earlier acquisitions this year by Israel Chemicals Everris (previously Scotts Global Pro) a multinational manufacturer and distributor of high-quality specialty fertilizers, including controlled-release, slow-release and soluble fertilizers; and Fuentes Fertilizantes, Spain’s largest manufacturer and distributor of soluble and liquid fertilizers, NPK components and conventional fertilizers. Israel Chemicals is also expanding soluble fertilizer production by its 50:50 Indian joint venture Zuari Rotem Specialty Fertilizers Ltd. Their partner, Zuari Industries, belongs to the Saroj Poddar-led Adventz group. Since March 2010, Zuari has been operating a soluble fertilizer plant with a production capacity of 32,000 tonnes a year. At present its total capacity to produce water soluble NPK speciality fertilizers is of 50,000 tpa. As a consequence of the growing adoption of advanced fertigation techniques (such as through drip irrigation systems) and foliar fertilization, India’s consumption of water-soluble speciality fertilizers is growing at 18-20 percent annually.
The global total specialty phosphates market was estimated at US$6 billion for 2009 sales with an estimated 2-3% annual growth rate.