TEL AVIV, Israel, July 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- ICL (NYSE: ICL) (TASE: ICL), a leading global specialty minerals and specialty chemicals company, announced that Fitch Ratings ("Fitch") has revised the Company's outlook to 'positive' from 'stable', while affirming its long-term credit rating at 'BBB-'.
Fitch's positive outlook reflects a faster deleveraging than previously anticipated by the rating agency and its view that ICL will maintain its funds from operations ("FFO") adjusted net leverage below 2.5x over the next three years. This is attributed to lower debt levels, stable EBITDA generation, as well as modest CAPEX and dividends.
Key rating drivers stated by Fitch include ICL's strategy-driven reduced debt ratios and increased margins aided by a shift to profitability of the phosphate JV in China, improved operating margin in ICL's Spanish potash operations, the transition of the UK Boulby mine to polysulphate production and a favorable business environment. Fitch also mentioned the strength of ICL's specialty chemicals segments, the Company's leading market and cost position in bromine, as well as an altered product mix towards more value-added specialty products. Fitch further highlighted ICL's net working capital optimization project, the Company's CAPEX focus on major efficiency projects and headroom for bolt-on M&A activities.
Kobi Altman, ICL's CFO stated, "We welcome Fitch's revision of its outlook for ICL to positive, which reflects ICL's improved financial performance and credit metrics. We will continue with our balanced capital allocation approach, while executing our strategy to achieve and strengthen leadership in our core markets."
ICL is a global specialty minerals and chemicals company operating bromine, potash and phosphate mineral value chains in a unique, integrated business model. ICL extracts raw materials from well-positioned mineral assets and utilizes technology and industrial know-how to add value for customers in key agricultural and industrial markets worldwide. ICL focuses on strengthening leadership positions in all its core value chains. It also plans to strengthen and diversify its offerings of innovative agro solutions by leveraging ICL's existing capabilities and agronomic know-how, as well as the Israeli technological ecosystem. ICL's operations are divided into four business divisions: Industrial Products (bromine value chain and complementary business); Potash; Phosphate Solutions (P2O5 Chain); and Innovative Ag Solutions. ICL's shares are dual-listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (NYSE and TASE: ICL). The company employs more than 11,000 people worldwide, and its 2018 revenues totaled about $5.6 billion. For more information, please visit the Company's website at www.icl-group.com.
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