The privately held Shapir construction firm, which is owned by brothers Yisrael, Harel, Gil and Hen Shapira, has quietly become a huge player involved in major construction projects all over the country. Now the brothers are planning on taking their company public, with a share offering they hope will generate about half a billion shekels ($130 million), and which could value the company at between 2 billion and 2.5 billion shekels, based on the more optimistic market projections.
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The brothers embark on a road show today to promote a public offering of 20% of the company’s shares, to be traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Their promotional efforts will probably take some getting used to for them, after decades during which the Shapira brothers avoided the public spotlight. Run from modest offices in Petah Tikva, Shapir has grown without much public notice, into a powerhouse with major involvement in public infrastructure projects. No less than 5.5 billion shekels of the government’s development budget is currently tied up in Shapir-run projects.
Over the past two decades, the company has grown into an enterprise employing 1,450 workers, with another 1,600 subcontracted on Shapir projects. It has 25% of the country’s quarrying market, runs 14 concrete factories and three asphalt plants, and has a fleet of hundreds of trucks.
In recent years, the company has had annual revenues of about 2.3 billion shekels. Last year, Shapir had net profits of 192 million shekels.
Among the current projects in which they are involved are the fast train line between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, for which the company is excavating the longest pair of tunnels in the country (12 kilometers). Shapir is also involved in the extension of Route 531, the freeway that is to run south of Ra’anana and will ultimately connect several major Sharon region communities north of Tel Aviv. Other Shafir projects include the extension of Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Freeway toward the north, and the extension of Route 6 in the north beyond the town of Yokne’am.
And just two weeks ago, Shapir, together with the Ashtrom group, were the successful bidders for the construction of a new port in Haifa, at a cost of nearly 4 billion shekels. Although this was not the first time the company has considered selling shares to the public as it has expanded, it is thought the brothers recently became convinced that they had no choice but to take the company public, as they have continued to work on some of the country’s largest projects.