The time: 1:46 A.M. last Monday. Investors in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange are resting from the storm. But the midnight oil is burning at the offices of real estate developer Milomor.
The early-morning report issued by the company has seven paragraphs, practically every one of which describes a different tribulation, and each seems worse than the one preceding it.
Starting from the bottom of the list, Milomor - which has still not published its second-quarter financial reports and is apparently going to be fined for this by the Israel Securities Authority - estimates that it lost at least NIS 50 million in the second quarter.
Paragraph 6 relates that Milomor has been negotiating with Mishkenot Clal to transfer Milomor's rights in the Savion Junction project to Mishkenot, in exchange for dropping claims the two companies have against one another. Milomor would be able to recall its shareholder's loans to the project, which total about NIS 50 million. Still, that can only happen after the project's repayment of NIS 84 million in loans from Mishkenot.
A glance at Paragraph 5 reveals that Milomor has been trying for months to reschedule hundreds of millions of shekels in bank loans. What the report does not disclose is that back in April Milomor had already reported negotiations for the rescheduling of NIS 390 million of bank financing. With that in mind, it is reasonable to assume that Milomor is having difficulty reaching an agreement with the banks over its debt repayment.
As of March 31 Milomor owed the banks about NIS 500 million, four-fifths of which to Bank Hapoalim.
Quarterly losses of at least NIS 50 million, dragged-out negotiations to reschedule debt and the transfer of rights in one of the company's projects to Mishkenot Clal - and that isn't the end of Milomor's tale of woe. It also reported the collapse of a big deal first reported in early July, in which Milomor subsidiary Resido Industries was supposed to be selling a plot of land in northwestern Be'er Yaakov for close to NIS 160 million.
Not bad enough? There's more. Milomor's report includes NIS 22 million in losses from the sale of rights in over 40 residential units owned by the company in a project in Holon's H-300 area. That loss will be recorded in Milomor's second-quarter report.
Another thorn in Milomor's side is construction equipment worth about NIS 5 million, recorded in the company's books as an asset. This equipment apparently belongs to Romarble Industries, a company now in liquidation that was privately owned by Freddy Robinson, the controlling shareholder of Milomor. Milomor is now expected to write off the value of that equipment, which is being claimed by Romarble's liquidator.
Milomor's woes actually began long before the drafting of Sunday night's report. The company's market capitalization, in which Robinson has a 53% stake, sank Monday to just NIS 33 million, from a peak of over NIS 350 million in April 2006.
Apart from losing 90% on the value of his shares, Robinson is under investigation by the Israel Securities Authority. He and his son, Oded Robinson, who serves as Milomor's vice president of operations and business development, were detained for questioning by the ISA in early July.
They were hauled up before a judge and released to house arrest. The investigation is still underway, and according to the warrant for Freddy Robinson's arrest, the ISA suspects that Milomor is guilty of insider transactions without obtaining all the requisite permits.
Specifically, in late 2004 Milomor subsidiary Resido purchased marble from Robinson's private company, Romarble, paying paid 2.2 million euros, which the ISA claims was twice the market price.
Milomor's other substantial shareholders are institutional investors - Harel Mutual Funds, with a 14% stake, and Halman-Aldubi Provident Funds, which owns 9%.
A spokesman for Hapoalim told TheMarker that the bank does not comment on news items concerning its clients.
"The quarterly losses are nonrecurring," said sources close to Milomor on Monday. "Milomor is about to sign an agreement with Bank Hapoalim for the rescheduling of its debts, and Robinson will provide a personal guarantee for $10 million, in addition to a lien on a project in Ashdod in the bank's favor. Furthermore, the quarterly loss is only for that quarter, and in the third quarter the company expects to return to profitability. Most of the loss stemmed from one-time write-offs. Milomor is expected to buy new equipment for $200,000, which Robinson will pay from his pocket, so the sum of NIS 5 million that was written off in the second quarter will probably be included in the third-quarter report."
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