The agreement reached early Friday morning between the representatives of 12 series of long-term bonds and Africa Israel is a real breakthrough toward an overall debt restructuring agreement for the company, but the road to a final deal with all creditors may take long and be filled with potholes.
Assuming Africa reaches a deal first with the banks it owes, especially Hapoalim, which has exposure of between NIS 2 billion and NIS 2.5 billion to Leviev, then the company will start a long series of meetings with bondholders. Each group of bondholders will need a 75% majority vote to approve the deal, which may not be easy.
Representatives of Series B9 short-term bonds have already made it clear they object and want all their money back on time - and are threatening to go to court to liquidate Africa otherwise. They say the deal with long-term bondholders comes at their expense.
It seems less likely that other short-term bondholders, whose payments are due next year, will go to court, as most of them also own many long-term Africa bonds.
But such conflicts of interest are exactly what could lead to a number of other lawsuits and demands to forbid such bondholders from voting on the agreement. In particular, private investors will accuse institutional investors of having conflicts, as well as those who hold shares alongside bonds.
The agreement will almost certainly require the approval of the Israel Securities Authority, which will also have to rule on the conflict-of-interest issues. The Israel Tax Authority also needs to pass judgment, as do Africa's shareholders.
Finally, if all this can be worked out, the final debt-restructuring agreement will have to be presented for court approval as required by the Companies Law.
In any case, based on experience, the entire process is expected to last for many months.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now