Eitan Wertheimer, chairman of Iscar, spoke this weekend with Warren Buffett, who invested NIS 4 billion in his purchase of 80 percent of the company before the outbreak of the war in the north.
After the conversation, Wertheimer told his confidants that Buffett had said that even if the deal needed to be finished after the outbreak of the war, he would not have withdrawn from it. According to sources close to Wertheimer, Buffett said that "the war would not have changed my willingness to invest in Iscar; take care of the situation and get sorted out."
The Iscar factory in the Tefen industrial park was closed for three days because of the war, but immediately afterwards returned to full operation. Other Wertheimer plants, including Blades Technolgies in Nahariya and Techjet, are operating partially.
At the same time, Hezi Tzaig, Director of the Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry Investment Center, asked the Finance Ministry for a NIS 300 million budget increase to allow the approval of investment plans in the Galilee.
About NIS 150 million would be a new allocation, while a further NIS 150 million would be transferred from the employment budget. The treasury has not yet given an answer to his request.
The trade ministry estimates that after the extra budget is granted it will be able to approve the relatively large investment requests in the Galilee, such as that of Iscar, Blades Technologies and Elite. In any case, there will not be enough money to approve all of the requests, but efforts will be made to distribute the approvals to most of the companies, and in some cases to give partial approvals.
This week, the administration of the ministry's investment center discussed investment plans of factories in the north and around the Gaza Strip. The administration approved 25 plans totalling NIS 243 million. Tzaig said that the approvals for front-line companies were given as part of the concept that plants situated in conflict zones need to be aided.
The administration approved a NIS 45 million expansion of the Tosaf Compounds plant in Carmiel. Tosaf manufactures raw materials for the plastics industry. Also, NIS 29 million was approved for Carmel Olefins in Haifa, NIS 28.5 million for Mor Plastic Industries in Sderot and NIS 17 million for Gevaram Quality Envelopes near Gaza.
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