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The employees said they would pay 20 percent more than the NIS 17 million bid offered by Avraham Burg's group. State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss halted that bid due to his probe of two group members who have been indicted for fraudulent corporate reporting.

"The plant could be very profitable, and we want it to be owned by the workers," head of the workers' union told Finance Minister Ehud Olmert.