PM rolls out tenders for two private ports

The government publicized tenders for two private ports - one in Haifa and one in Ashdod - yesterday at a festive press conference. “This is a holiday for Israel,” stated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Ten years ago, as finance minister, I worked to break the ports up into two government companies. It took years to carry out the second step - privatizing the Eilat port. Now we’re carrying out the third step, which is building two new ports,” he said. The process will create jobs, make consumer goods cheaper and reduce the cost of living, he added. The process of reforming monopolies is a growth engine, he added. “It won’t stop at the ports,” he said. “We started with open skies, and we’ll finish with open seas,” he said. The plan, which was detailed in yesterday’s paper, did not draw a public response from the port workers’ unions, which are likely to oppose the measure. (Avi Bar-Eli)

Bill to limit executive salaries gets softened

The Justice Ministry prepared a gentler, revised version of the bill that would limit executive salaries at publicly held companies. The draft was handed to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni for approval; Livni called for holding a public hearing before signing off on it. The new draft gives companies that are not on the TA-100 index until mid-January 2014 to formulate wage policies; a previous draft had given them until mid-September 2013. The bill states that salaries of less than NIS 720,000 a year - or NIS 60,000 a month - do not need to be approved by a general assembly of shareholders, so long as the salary is not going to a full-time board member or chairman. (Zvi Zrahiya)

Without reform, IBA would spend record NIS 1b

The Israel Broadcast Authority would be spending a record NIS 1.06 billion this year if a reform weren’t being put in place there, according to a document sent by the authority’s vice president of finances to the authority’s head. Under this forecast, the authority’s revenues from fees and advertising would be only NIS 886 million. Employees at the authority have been up in arms over the past several weeks over the need for cutbacks. The current plan to reform the authority calls for laying off 100 workers and cutting overtime hours by 40%. (Nati Tucker)

Minrav CEO arrested for alleged tax evasion

Minrav CEO Dror Kuznitsky was arrested for allegedly submitting fraudulent documents in an attempt to evade taxes. The investigation, which became public yesterday, comes after similar claims were raised against Kuznitsky in a civil court hearing before the Supreme Court. According to the suspicions, Kuznitsky allegedly partnered with the owner of a plot of land in Givat Shmuel to submit falsified documents in an attempt to avoid paying betterment tax. Kuznitsky was released with restrictions after being brought before a judge. (Hila Raz)

Aerospace Authority head stepping down early

Israel Aerospace Authority chairman Dov Baharav is stepping down a year early. Baharav, who was appointed two years ago in order to lead the company through its pending privatization, submitted his resignation to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon a few days ago. Baharav will be staying on until a replacement is found, as part of an agreement hashed out with the government company’s board this week. Sources close to the board said Baharav had decided to leave early because he felt he had achieved the main goals he had set himself there, including reinvigorating the company’s management, setting a new business strategy and imposing global operating standards. However, the privatization is not likely to go through anytime soon. (Ora Cohen)