Richest Man in Israel, Idan Ofer, Resigns From Israel Corporation Board

Move by billionaire seen as step toward shifting his business empire to London and splitting Israel Corporation's holdings into two companies.

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The Israel Corporation's largest shareholder, Idan Ofer, announced his resignation from the company's board of directors on Thursday morning. Ofer, Israel's richest person, had served on the board since 1999.

Ofer holds 46.94% of the Israel Corporation –Israel’s largest holding company - through Millennium Investments Elad Ltd, another 1.24% through Ofer Holdings Group, as well as a personal stake of 2.5% in the company.

Ofer is listed at 182 on Forbes' list of the world's richest people, with an estimated fortune of 4.4 billion pounds.

Thursday's announcement comes on the heels of a report two weeks ago in British weekly The Sunday Times that Ofer was planning on transferring half of his business empire to London, with a 2 billion pound stock offering.

According to that report, the Ofer-controlled companies Israel Chemicals and Oil Refineries would remain listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, while his remaining companies would be listed on foreign exchanges.

The Israel Corporation already announced a month ago that it would split its holdings in subsidiary companies into two separate companies in order to reduce the gap between the net value of its assets and their market capitalization.

Among holdings the Israel Corporation will transfer to the new company are its 100% stake in IC Power; a 38% stake in microchip producer TowerJazz; its stake in Zim Integrated Shipping Services, should it keep its holding in it after an expected debt restructuring; and a 50% stake in Qoros Auto Company, which manufactures cars in China. In return, Israel Corporation shareholders will each receive shares in the new company.

The company estimates that the process will take between six and 12 months to be completed.

The Israel Corporation will hold onto its stakes in Israel Chemicals (52%) and Oil Refineries (37%), and trade on the TASE. 

Idan Ofer in Davos, Switzerland, January 2012.Credit: Bloomberg

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