Business in Brief / Five North American Property Companies Readying Tel Aviv Bond Sales

Leumi confirms it's seeking buyer for Fishman debt; Mivtach Shamir, Sami Katzav team up on IMI bid; Shares end lower after Bank of Israel chief's remarks.

Bloomberg

Five North American property companies readying Tel Aviv bond sales

Five more North American property companies are gearing up to make first-time bond offerings in Israel amounting to as much as a combined $400 million, TheMarker has learned. Copperline Partners, Strawberry Fields, Urban Corporation, Witkoff Group and Marx Development Group are preparing prospectuses to file with the Israel Securities Authority in the next few weeks, each raising between several tens of millions of dollar to as much as $100 million. Witkoff, which is headed by the Steve Witkoff and the biggest of the likely issuers, had planned to sell bonds last summer but delayed after the company concluded it didn’t need the capital. Its properties include New York’s Park Lane Hotel. Copperline, which builds and rents luxury apartments in the New York area and Florida, plans to raises about $100 million. Strawberry Field and UrbanCorp are Canadian companies. MDG, which is controlled by David Marx, planned a bond issue earlier this year but delayed it. (Eran Azran and Michael Rochvarger) 

Leumi confirms it’s seeking buyer for Fishman debt

Bank Leumi confirmed on Monday that it is seeking to sell the 1.5 billion shekels ($400 million) in debt tycoon Eliezer Fishman owes it and has given the task of negotiating a deal to its Leumi Partners unit. Leumi said in response to media reports that there were a number of parties interested in buying the debt, which has as collateral a 40% stake in Fishman’s publicly traded property company Jerusalem Economy, meaning the owner of the debt could wrest control of JEC. Leumi said it had opened an information room for prospective buyers in the hopes of completing a sale in the next several weeks.  TheMarker reported Sunday that Leumi is in talks with the Nakash Brothers and several other Israeli and foreign investors. JEC shares closed down 0.3% to 15.33 shekels Monday, which still left them up 15% up in the last two weeks on buyout speculation. (Michael Rochvarger)

Mivtach Shamir, Sami Katzav team up on IMI bid

Mivtach Shamir and Sami Katzav’s SKG on Monday signed a preliminary agreement to combine forces in a bid to buy state-owned Israel Military Industries. The two have submitted separate bids for the arms maker but will now re-submit as equal partners and have an agreement about how they could jointly control the company if their bid wins. The two sides still have to complete a detailed agreement, for which they have given themselves a 45-day deadline. The government hopes to complete the sale of IMI by the end of the year, even though the Knesset Finance Committee has raised objections about privatizing companies in general. Twelve groups have submitted bids, with of them expected to team up like Mivtach Shamir and Katzav, whose SKG bought IMI’s Uzi submachine gun business years ago. (Ora Coren). 

Shares end lower after Bank of Israel chief’s remarks

Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug’s monetary policy remarks pulled the rug out from under the stock market on Monday that had been gaining on news the European Union and Greece were nearing a debt accord. The benchmark TA-25 index slid into minus in the final hour of trading to end down 0.4% at 1,697.13 points, while the TA-100 lost 0.5% to 1,461.83, on turnover of 1.64 billion shekels ($430 million). The drop in bond prices that had already been underway deepened, with the government’s shekel bond due in 2025 losing 1.28%, raising its yield to 2.48%. The bond due in 2042 lost 1.7%, leaving its yield to 3.43%. Finance and technology shares bucked the declines in the stock market, but real estate shares were pounded. Airport City led the TA-100 down on a decline of 3.5% to 40.58 shekels and Bayside wasn’t far behind on a 3.3% drop to 1,220.  Teva Pharamceuticals led the most actives on a 1.6% drop to end at 227.50 shekels (Eran Azran)