A Top 10 List of Tasks Facing Dankner

With all the advice now heaped on intended Finance Minister Yair Lapid, we thought it timely to also offer Nochi Dankner, controlling shareholder of IDB Holdings, a few tips.

1. Reach out to Eduardo Elsztain, the savior from Argentina, since your whole debt restructuring scheme depends on his goodwill. You may have signed a deal with bondholders, but everything hinges on a cash flow of $75 million from a Buenos Aires bank. If Elzstain gets cold feet at the last minute (everyone knows he’s the sucker in this deal) you can make wallpaper from all the paperwork used in concocting the deal.

2. IDB Development Corp, IDB Holding’s subsidiary, will be filing its 2012 report within two weeks. IDB Development faces massive repayments to banks and to bondholders over the next two years, but it has serious liquidity problems. If the reports contain a going-concern warning for IDB Development, the bondholders could leave you high and dry. (But the warning is up to auditor Gad Somekh.)

3. The arrangement at IDB Holdings does not address the outstanding debts of your privately-held Ganden Holdings to Bank Leumi (NIS 450 million) and to Mizrahi-Tefahot (NIS 85 million). For money to flow freely on the Buenos Aires-Ganden-IDB Holdings-bondholders axis, you will need to persuade Leumi CEO Rakefet Russak-Aminoach to hold off with her pesky demands for a few more months (quarters or years).

4. After (or perhaps before) meeting Russak-Aminoach it may be wise to update Hapoalim CEO Zion Keinan about all developments. You may be close friends, but problematic cumulative debts reaching NIS 900 million, from privately-owned Tomahawk and IDB Development, can easily turn the best of friends into enemies. You know what? It wouldn’t hurt to send an SMS to Discount CEO Reuven Spiegel as well, seeing as Tomahawk owes him a further NIS 100 million.

5. Have a one-on-one meeting with Reuven Avital. Last week, the former head of Telrad was appointed to be an external director at Koor. In this capacity he will be the one making a recommendation to Koor’s board of directors regarding the implementation of the controversial deal with controlling shareholders and the purchasing of Clal Insurance.

6. One can’t predict where the next blow will land. It’s probably best to ensure that Amir Bartov, IDB Development’s attorney, is alert and up to speed. You may well need him to send threatening letters to your ill-wishers.

7. Two recipients of such letters were Zehavit Cohen, CEO of Apax Partners and controlling shareholder at Psagot, and Ehud Shapiro, chairman of Psagot. It would be best to stay on good terms with them and not heat things up. IDB Development still needs to solve its problems. Any debt restructuring there will require their goodwill as well.

8. Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto is the real hero of the debt restructuring deal. His relentless efforts at mediation gave you a lifesaver, in the form of NIS 100 million from Elsztain. Pinto must wield some magic powers over people. Maybe you should arrange for him to meet Hagai (Badash, CEO of Psagot) and Jeremy (Blank, representing York Capital in Israel), two troublemakers who are only waiting for an opportunity to take over IDB Development.

9. Izzy Cohen, CEO of Clal Insurance, arrived there to put things in order after five sleepy years under Shy Talmon. However, his first three months there were too turbulent. Two hundred employees left, the main investor manager Roy Yakir switched to Phoenix, and many senior managers left or retired, or received hints to do so soon. Clal Insurance is one of IDB Development’s prize holdings. Too many shakeups over a short period are not the way toward longer term improvement.

10. You deserve a rest among your family. You usually go on challenging trips during the holidays, but given last year’s rocky ride, why don’t you stay home in Herzliya Pituach this Passover (assuming the house isn’t mortgaged)? Why don’t you invite your parents over as well, with all the free time on their hands now that they’ve retired from the board of directors?

Nochi Dankner in front of his Herzliya Pituah home.Credit: Channel Two

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