Business in Brief

Norway’s oil fund can reinvest in Africa Israel Investments, Danya Cebus

Norway’s $750 billion sovereign wealth fund can once again invest in Africa Israel Investments and its subsidiary, construction firm Danya Cebus, the Norwegian finance ministry said Wednesday. The firms were excluded from the fund, the world’s largest, in 2010 on the recommendation of its ethics council as they were involved in the building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. A recent review revealed the firms and their subsidiaries were no longer involved in the construction of settlements in the West Bank and they had no plans for such activities in future, the finance ministry said in a statement. (Reuters)

State: Ports’ inefficiency costs NIS 800m a year

Inefficiency at the country’s ports costs the nation NIS 800 million a year, the state has told the High Court of Justice in an appeal against the National Labor Court’s decision to intervene in its planned port reform. The statement marked the first time the government has published cost calculations of the inefficiency of operations at the Haifa and Ashdod ports. “Ships wait about nine hours before receiving service, while by international standards it’s unacceptable to leave ships waiting,” the state said. This figure does not include the damage to foreign trade, which cannot be calculated, it added. In the document, the state attributed the inefficiency to a lack of competition. The government had planned to issue tenders for private ports, but the court ordered the move delayed in response to a petition filed by the port unions. (Avi Bar-Eli)

Discount Bank CEO announces resignation

Discount Bank CEO Reuven Spiegel is stepping down, he told the chairman of the bank’s board of directors on Wednesday. The announcement was unexpected. Spiegel, whose family lives in New York, cited personal motives for the decision. Spiegel’s time as CEO was marred by failed attempts to reform the bank’s organizational culture, which is characterized by tough wage agreements and extremely low productivity. Spiegel pushed through a number of reforms and cut the bank’s workforce by more than 700, but he failed to improve the institution’s low productivity. (Sivan Aizescu)

Albatross Aerial Photography