Shaya Boymelgreen, the controlling shareholder of the Boymelgreen real estate group, which controls Azorim, adamantly rejected rumors of Azorim's financial difficulties. "I woke up in the morning and was shocked to read of these malicious, completely baseless rumors about Azorim's purported difficulties which have spread through the Israeli capital market," Boymelgreen told TheMarker.
In response to the scuttlebutt, shares of Azorim, one of the largest construction companies in Israel, lost 8.9 percent. In a month they've lost 27 percent, lowering its market cap to NIS 1.5 billion. Mid-range Azorim bonds dropped 4.3 percent yesterday to a yield of 8.8 percent.
Boymelgreen went on an aggressive, multi-billion shekel shopping spree in early 2006, which included the acquisition of the real estate firm Azorim from the IDB Group, the Sheraton Moriah and Accor hotel chains and Lagna Holdings. The shopping spree raised eyebrows among capital market players, since most of Boymelgreen's acquisitions were financed through bond issues, whose redeemability was questioned. The breakup of his joint real estate activity with Lev Leviev further fueled the rumor mill about Boymelgreen's financial condition.
Boymelgreen added that the subprime home mortgage crisis threatening the real estate sector in the U.S. is not expected to affect his real estate companies, nor Liberty Point Bank in the U.S., which is under his control.
Addressing the sharp dip in Azorim share prices over the past month, Boymelgreen commented that the company is trading at attractive prices, demonstrated by the fact that he himself has substantially increased his holdings in Azorim both directly and through the Boymelgreen Group. "Azorim's financial condition has never been better,"he said.
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