Buffett Would Have Bought Iscar Anyway

War has forced some Iscar facliities to scale back work

Much speculation has been made about the war and Warren: would he have bought Iscar, his first transaction outside the U.S., if the war had broken out before the $4 billion deal was done?

Speculate no more. Iscar chairman Eitan Wertheimer spoke with Buffett this weekend and the answer is Yes.

After the conversation, Wertheimer told his confidantes that Buffett had said that even if the closing had been scheduled after the outbreak of the war, he would have done the deal.

According to sources close to Wertheimer, Buffett said that the war would not have changed his willingness to invest in Iscar.

The Iscar factory in the Tefen industrial park was closed for three days because of the war, but immediately afterwards returned to full operation.

Other Wertheimer plants, including Blades Technolgies in Nahariya and Techjet, are operating only partially.

Aid for industry in the shadow of war

At the same time, Hezi Tzaig, the director of the Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry's Investment Encouragement Center, asked the Finance Ministry for an extra NIS 300 million for investment in the Galilee, which is the region must stricken by missiles and war-related damage.

About NIS 150 million would be fresh money, and the rest would come from the employment budget, Tzaig propses.

The treasury hasn't answered his request yet.

The Trade ministry estimates that with the extra money, it can approve several large investment requests in the Galilee, such as that of Iscar, Blades Technologies and Elite.

It won't have enough to approve all the requests, but efforts will be made to distribute the approvals to most of the companies, and in some cases to give partial approvals.

This week, the administration of the ministry's investment center discussed investment plans of factories in the north and around the Gaza Strip. The administration approved 25 plans totalling NIS 243 million. Tzaig said that the approvals for front-line companies were given as part of the concept that plants situated in conflict zones need to be aided.

The administration approved a NIS 45 million expansion of the Tosaf Compounds plant in Carmiel. Tosaf manufactures raw materials for the plastics industry. Also, NIS 29 million was approved for Carmel Olefins in Haifa, NIS 28.5 million for Mor Plastic Industries in Sderot and NIS 17 million for Gevaram Quality Envelopes near Gaza.