Business in Brief: $60m Raised for Bridges Israel Social Impact Fund

Tel Aviv shares gain as volume picks up ■ CEO of grocery chain Tiv Taam loses job in dispute with founder ■ Three bidders emerge in sale of Israir

File photo: Irrigation systems in Israel's south, July 23, 2017.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Three bidders emerge in sale of Israir

Three bidders are left to buy the Israeli airline Israir, whose parent company IDB Tourism is being sold by Eduardo Elsztain’s IDB Development Limited. The three are the Israeli conglomerate Elco Group, the private equity investor Kedma Capital and hotels and real estate entrepreneur Meni Weitzman, all of whom have made initial bids of between $60 million and $65 million. Israeli-UK billionaire Teddy Sagi offered 15% less than the others and dropped out of the competition. The successful bids are about in line with the 225 million shekels ($61.2 million) IDB said in its third-quarter financial report it expected to get for Israir. The final choice for buyer is expected to be made in the first half of February followed by due diligence and negotiations on a final price. Although much smaller than El Al Airlines, Israeli has fared better in the more competitive travel market that has emerged in recent years. It expects revenues of $340 million in 2019 and a net profit of $11 million. (Yoram Gabison)

Bridges Israel raises $60 million for its social impact fund

Bridges Israel said on Thursday it had amassed $60 million in commitments from investors for its impact investment fund. The fund will invest in businesses in Israel’s most underprivileged communities as well as in businesses that aim to improve health and well-being, education and environment while generating financial returns. Bridges said the anchor investor is Israel Discount Bank. Another leading investor is Israel’s Psagot investment house along with private investors from Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. The fund’s latest investment, of a few million dollars, was in the Israeli startup Kando, whose technology is used by water utilities and cities to monitor wastewater quality in underground pipes.This is the third investment made by Bridges Israel, following investments in irrigation technology firm Ndrip and social urban planning startup Venn, the fund said. Bridges Israel is an affiliate of London-based investment firm Bridges Fund Management. (Reuters)

CEO of grocery chain Tiv Taam loses job in dispute with founder

Just days after he was put on forced leave, Adi Cohen was forced out of his job as CEO of the food retailer Tiv Taam and replaced by its founder and controlling shareholder Hagai Shalom. The firing came after Cohen accused Shalom of interfering in management in unspecified ways that damaged corporate governance standards. Two independent directors decided in response to put Cohen on leave while they examined his claims and on Thursday decided he must go. Until a divorce last year, Cohen was married to Shalom’s daughter, but Tiv Taam said there was no connection between the divorce and this week’s events. Cohen, who has since retained a professional spokesman, declined to comment. Tiv Taam shares ended up 2.7% at 2.19 shekels (60 cents). (Eran Azran)

Tel Aviv shares gain as volume picks up

Tel Aviv shares rose on Thursday, as volume rose to normal levels after several days of unusually low turnover. The benchmark TA-35 index finished ahead 0.3% at 1,526.90 points, while the TA-125 gained 0.4% to 1,381.80, on turnover of 1.44 billion shekels ($390 million). Bank Hapoalim was the volume leader but moved up only 0.6% to 24.25. No. 2 Bank Leumi gained 1.1% to 23.85. Insurance shares were the top gainers by sector, with Harel advancing 3.1% to 24.01. Tech shares rose sharply, too, led by LivePerson’s 5.9% gain to 82.27. B Communications resumed it move lower, falling 5.9% to close at 82.27 after a spike higher in Wednesday. Medical Cannabis stocks extended their Wednesday gain on news the cabinet would be voting on approving exports Sunday. InterCure climbed 38% to 7.82 while together rose 8.8% to 6.40 and WhiteSmoke added 9.6% to 1.60. (Guy Erez)