Business in Brief

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El Al getting ready for low-cost flights

El Al Airlines is working on plans to begin operating low-cost flights to and from Europe to compete the rash of discount carriers flying out of Ben-Gurion Airport and the onset of the Open Skies aviation liberalization accord with the European Union. Managers are now examining which routes make the most sense financially, with plans calling for short-haul routes using five Boeing 737-800 aircraft no later than the summer 2014 season. El AL will be reporting its third-quarter results on Wednesday, which are expected to be strong after it increased its traffic through Ben-Gurion 4% in the first nine months of the year, compared with the same time in 2012. (Zohar Blumenkrantz)

Israel Chemicals cutting 130 jobs at Rotem unit

Israel Chemicals said on Tuesday that it will let go 130 workers at Rotem Amfert Negev, its phosphate-producing division, most of them through an early-retirement plan for employees aged 57 and up. The company intends to give all the employees its lays off, including some in their 30s and 40s, a severance grant in the range of NIS 700,000 to NIS 800,000. The older employees will also continue receiving monthly salaries of NIS 17,000 to NIS 18,000 until reaching the age of retirement. The company claims the division is generating losses because phosphate prices have been falling over the past year. (Haim Bior)

Matim Li, Jump placed under liquidation

A temporary liquidation order was issued on Tuesday by the Central District Court for the women’s apparel chains Matim Li and Jump, owned by Avi Malka. The liquidators were given 72 hours to determine if the stores could be operated without generating losses and, if so, they will continue running them until a hearing set for next Wednesday. The liquidators have already issued a call for offers. The most likely buyer for the company is from Avi Hoffman, who acquired the financially troubled Grip fashion chain last year. TheMarker has learned that the principal of the Onot apparel chain, which like Matim Li specializes in large sizes, is also weighing a bid, TheMarker has learned. (Adi Dovrat-Meseritz)

An easyJet flight on the tarmac in Geneva, March 2012. Credit: Reuters