Business in Brief

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Gas prices look set to fall again in May

Prices at the gas pump might drop again at the beginning of May, this time by about 3%, due to a 9% decline in the wholesale price of gasoline in Europe and a 1% appreciation in the value of the shekel. The regulated maximum price for a liter of 95 octane at the self-service pump is expected to fall by 20 to 35 agorot from its current NIS 7.57 level. The final price for May will be announced next week and will take into account any further changes to prices abroad and the exchange rate. At the beginning of this month, the price fell for the first time this year, dropping 38 agorot per liter after climbing 43 agorot since January. ‏(Itai Trilnick‏)

Work on rail lines to continue after Transportation Ministry’s budget cut reduced

The Transportation Ministry’s budget for 2013-2014 will be cut by just NIS 1.35 billion rather than the NIS 2 billion previously decided on by the Finance Ministry, following an agreement reached between Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Finance Minister Yair Lapid. The original plan was to cut NIS 2 billion by postponing work for a year or two on key infrastructure projects like restoring the Jezreel Valley rail line. Katz, however, prevailed on Lapid to permit some development of the transportation network to continue. As a result, the Jezreel line is still on target to begin operating in 2016 and construction of rail lines to Carmiel and Beit She’an won’t be frozen. ‏(Daniel Schmil and Moti Bassok‏)

Delek Israel to be delisted from TASE

Delek Israel will be delisted from trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange after its parent, Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Group, succeeded in a buyout offer tendered last week for all outstanding shares owned by the public. The offer was for NIS 105.50 a share, 11% above the trading price. Delek Group already owned 86.9% of the gas station chain’s shares and will spend NIS 157 million to acquire the remaining 1.5 million shares. In July 2011, Delek Group made a previous attempt, offering NIS 101 per share, which was rejected. But Delek Israel’s stock subsequently fell by 17%, to NIS 86.55 two weeks ago, when the current offer was announced. ‏(Yoram Gabison‏)

Stolen lumber for Lag Ba’omer bonfires costs contractors NIS 20 million

The theft of lumber from construction sites in the run-up to Lag Ba’omer, a holiday celebrated around bonfires, costs the construction industry about NIS 20 million, the Association of Contractors and Builders estimated Tuesday. Lag Ba’omer eve, when bonfires are lit with wood collected mainly by children, falls on Sunday this year. The estimate of the loss is based on an assumption that about NIS 15,000 in lumber is stolen on average from the country’s 1,500 construction sites. The association says theft of lumber is just one component of the losses, which also includes damage to perimeter fencing at construction sites by people coming onto the sites to take wood. ‏(Nimrod Bousso‏) 

Children at a bonfire in Tel Aviv's Kikar Medina.Credit: Tali Meir