Sale of Clal Insurance to Chinese Looks to Be in Doubt

IDB controlling shareholders want to withdraw from deal, sources say.

Ofer Vaknin

IDB Development Corporation controlling shareholders Moti Ben-Moshe and Eduardo Elsztain want to withdraw from an agreement to sell the firm’s Clal Insurance to a group of Chinese investors, according to sources.

On Sunday the board is to vote on whether to give the buyers, led by JT Capital Fund, another extension to get the approvals they need to buy 32% of Clal for 1.47 billion shekels ($420 million).

The sources say IDB’s court-appointed trustees, as well as the trustees of IDB Holding Corporation, IDB Development’s parent company, favor letting the sale proceed.

The sale was negotiated under former IDB controlling shareholder Nochi Dankner, to raise cash to repay debt. The sources say IDB’s new controlling shareholders hope to increase the valuation of the insurance unit, beyond its current 4.6 billion shekels, before making another attempt at selling it.

Clal Insurance fell 3.1% to close at 68.24 shekels on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.