Bank Hapoalim Proposes to Pay Chairman NIS 162,000 a Month, and Counting

Receiver appointed to TAT Industries, moshav farmers claim kibbutz Goliaths threw them under the bus.

Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster
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Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster

Bank Hapoalim proposes to pay chairman NIS 162,000 a month, and counting: Yossi Seroussi will make NIS 162,000 a month in gross terms for chairing Bank Hapoalim, if the shareholders approve the proposal to be tabled for voting this Thursday. Seroussi's pay will be linked to the consumer price index – if it rises; if the CPI falls the linkage evaporates. At least his pay won't be rising while the CPI is falling, Hapoalim points out. The bank is extending Seroussi's contract by five years. Seroussi also gets a company car – an Audi A6, a chauffeur. Now, if Seroussi gets fired, he'll get severance of 2.5 times his monthly salary times the number of years he's been at the bank times 250%. Now you know.

Merrill Lynch on Tuesday jacked up its growth forecast for Israel, to 2.9% from 2.7%. And why did BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research do this? Because of the upswing in the global economic environment, the bank's analysts explain, and signed of recovery in Israel during the second half of the year. In common with the chief economist at IBI, Rafi Gozlan, the Merrillites think the Bank of Israel will hold off raising interest rates for the nonce. Merrill Lynch doesn't see a rate cut before the first quarter of 2013, it says – but they warn that the perils of a fiscal cliff in the U.S. and Europe's debt woes haven't dissipated. Both pose risks to Israeli prosperity.

Dairy imports agreement on ice: Because of a dispute between kibbutz and moshav farmers over the "dairy agreement" approved last week by cabinet, a meeting of the Cattle Breeders Association – at which the agreement was to have been signed on their part – has been indefinitely put off from this Tuesday afternoon. Putting off the meeting was apparently the only thing representatives of the two farming movements could agree on. Representatives of the moshavim say the agreement favors the giant kibbutz dairy farmers and will doom their small dairy farmers. The agreement, note you, is about gradually prising open Israel's insular dairy industry to competition from imported products, and reducing the price paid to farmers for raw milk. "The moshav cattle farmers feel like calves brought to slaughter," snarled their representative Meir Tzur on Monday, who is spearheading the moshavim opposition to the agreement, adding that the kibbutzim have betrayed the moshavim.

Receiver appointed to TAT Industries: Roni Elroy's empire of companies is crumbling fast. The Tel Aviv-listed company Kaman Holdings is at the top of the heap; its main asset is Kaman Holdings, and in turn the main asset of Kaman Holdings is Kaman Industries. All are essentially on the block now, after a Tel Aviv court on Monday acceded to Bank Hapoalim's plea and appointed a receiver to TAT Industries. Meanwhile, Discount Bank is negotiating to sell Kaman Industries itself (the sale of TAT will be handled separately). TAT owes NIS 45 million to Bank Hapoalim. At month-end the court will be hearing a request by creditors to dissolve Kaman Holdings as well. Elroy, by the way, is son-in-law of energy baron Yitzhak Tshuva.

Caesar Stone countersues quarry: Just as it's supposed to be sold, Caesar Stone is countersuing the Kfar Gilady quarry company for NIS 76 million, claiming breach of contract. Kfar Gilady, which is owned by a kibbutz of the same name, had sued Caesar Stone last November for NIS 210 million, also claiming breach of a contract signed in 2006. The agreement said that the quarry would establish a natural-quartz processing plant within 21 months; Caesar Stone, which makes kitchen counter-tops of natural stone and artificial substances, undertook a 10-year procurement plan. The quarry says it spent $10.5 million building the plant; Caesar Stone doesn't dispute that but says the plant started operating two years after schedule, and didn't supply either the agreed-on quantity or quality. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, foreign investment funds are poised to close a deal buying Caesar Stone for something over $600 million.

With reporting by Amiram Cohen, Oren Freund and Sivan Aizescu.

This is an Audi A6 of the type Bank Hapoalim will cover for chairman Yair Seroussi.Credit: David Bachar
Yair SeroussiCredit: David Bachar



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