Hard Times Who? Phoenix CEO Buys Jaguar

Eyal Lapidot, one of the highest-paid managers in Israel, shells out NIS 400,000 for a new set of wheels.

Against the backdrop of the economic slowdown and widespread lay-offs, which have also affected insurance companies, Eyal Lapidot, the CEO of Delek Group's Phoenix, has bought himself a new Jaguar XF.

Lapidot shelled out about NIS 400,000 for the car after getting a discount from Mayer’s Cars and Trucks Ltd. – an importer of Volvos and Jaguars that holds about 23 percent of Phoenix’s share capital. He bought a similar car second-hand in 2009.

Lapidot’s new car is among the luxury vehicles that Delek Group’s high-ranking managers are eligible to buy. Despite this, most of Delek Group’s managers, including Moshe Bareket, the chairman of Phoenix Holding Group, Inc. and Phoenix Insurance, Inc., drive Fords or Mazdas. These cars are imported by Delek Automotive, which is controlled by Gil Agmon and Delek Group.

Lapidot has been in talks for several months with Phoenix’s board of directors for a loan of NIS 30 to 40 million, which he would use to buy one to two percent of the company’s shares. But the talks have thus far not led to a deal.

After Lapidot joined Delek, Tshuva made him one of the highest-paid managers in Israel, with a salary cost estimated, since 2007, at NIS 84 million – of which he has received smaller amounts. Over the past year, Lapidot tried to move the sale of Phoenix to KKR forward. The deal fell through because, some in the know have surmised, relations between Tshuva and Lapidot had soured.

Tshuva is said to be dissatisfied with Phoenix’s value and also disappointed in the fact that Phoenix created obstacles when Delek Real Estate sought to pay off its loan of about NIS 65 million, even though it had guarantees worth more than the loan.
 

Bloomberg
Koby Kalmanovich