Israel Shipyards Doesn't Plan to Miss the Boat This Time Around

Hertzel Laks
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Hertzel Laks

A year after missing the originally planned launch, Israel Shipyards is sailing toward flotation on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

The company, which is owned by Shlomo Shmeltzer, Shlomi Fogel and Samy Katsav and managed by Avi Shahaf, owns a ship-building facility in Haifa, and a dock. Israel Shipyards filed a prospectus with the Israel Securities Authority a year ago, seeking to raise NIS 100 million at a company valuation of NIS 400 million, but the company missed the momentum in the marketplace and withdrew its offering. Now the market is red-hot again and the company is ready to set float.

The owners also hope a new license obtained in February to operate their Haifa bay shipyard as a proper port will increase its valuation. It will also mean it competes head on with the state-owned port companies in loading and unloading cargo.

Shmeltzer, Fogel and Katsav bought Israel Shipyards from the state in June 1995. At the time, the company had racked up about $200 million in losses. The trio acquired it for the princely sum of $13 million, which is some 20 percent of the value they hope to attain on the trading floor. The owners think the port license could jack up the company's value to about NIS 450 million, capital market sources surmise.

Israel Shipyards has chosen Leumi & Co with Discount Capital Markets to be its lead underwriters. The structure of the offering has yet to be determined, let alone its scope. Given the timeline, it will almost certainly have to base its offering on the first-quarter financial statement, not the annual one for 2004.

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