Borgas: Gov't pushing us to invest overseas

Israel Chemicals CEO Stefan Borgas told the Sheshinski Committee that money to develop the Dead Sea Works can be invested abroad instead.

Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL) CEO Stefan Borgas and his team of consultants today appeared before the Sheshinski II Committee, which is investigating the royalties paid on Israel's natural resources, just as the first Sheshinski Committee examined oil and gas resources royalties. Borgas claimed that Israel Chemicals wants to invest tens of billions of shekels in Israel but the government is making it difficult for the company.

"Israel Chemicals already currently contributes to the public interest in Israel more than any other company in the country," said Borgas. "Raising the State's royalties paid by Israel Chemicals will lead to a reduction in that contribution and harming the public interest."

Borgas reiterated the company's figures that it is the source of 20% of the Negev's GDP and 7.5% of Israel's exports.

He added, "Israel is Israel Chemicals home and it has significance for Israel Chemicals, while Israel Chemicals is proud to be the player that contributes to the economy and Israeli society, and the investment budget of Israel Chemicals over the coming decade will be more than NIS 40 billion. We want to invest a lot in Israel in the coming decade to maintain and increase our manufacturing operations here in Israel. But I simply don't understand why the government is doing everything to prevent us any option of investing and is pushing us almost forcibly to invest in other countries that are interested in our investments."

He continued that it is deceptive to think that Israel Chemicals cannot close production lines in Israel and move them overseas. Borgas said, "It is a false outlook that it is not possible to move the Dead Sea and phosphate sales - and there is no need to encourage investment. But the reality is more complicated. The money that is needed to develop the Dead Sea can very easily move to places that encourage investment, not places that discriminate against us. For example, since they took Israel Chemicals out of the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investment, we chose to invest over NIS 1 billion in developing our potash mines in Catalonia, Spain where they are doing a lot to let us invest there."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on December 16, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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