Israeli Tycoon Dankner Gets More Time to Settle Debt

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IDB Holding Corporation's controlling shareholder Nochi Dankner received a new deadline Monday to find investors to save the company, the linchpin in one of Israel’s largest conglomerates.

According to Tel Avivi District Court Judge Eitan Orenstin, IDB Holding will now have until October 20 to submit debt-restructuring proposals to the court. The proposals would then undergo a monthly vetting process by a court-appointed expert, with approval by bondholders concluding with a court hearing on November 25.

Orenstin based his decision on the likelihood that Ukrainian-Jewish businessman Alexander Granovsky would ante up NIS 500 million through the company Emblaze to settle with IDB's bondholders. Orenstin earlier required IDB to deposit NIS 70 million of that money with the court, which it has done.

“It is inconceivable that the court should rule to defer a decision based on certain conditions and then not allow a deferral when these conditions are met,” wrote Orenstin in his ruling. He added that those who opposed the deferred deadline had failed to raise any logical objections, and that such a deadline was in the creditors’ interest.

The judge also rejected bondholders' request that IDB Holding's assets be distributed in kind. Such a settlement was key to a separate restructuring deal already approved by bondholders that would have given Argentine-Jewish businessman Eduardo Elsztain a 51% stake in a reorganized IDB Holding for NIS 770 million.

The court also approved the sale of Clal Insurance to Hong Kong-based JT Capital Management by IDB Holding subsidiary IDB Development Corporation. The deal will give JT Capital and partner investors a 32% stake in Clal for NIS 1.47 billion.

IDB Holding and IDB Development collectively owe creditors, including bondholders, about NIS 8 billion. The IDB group includes Israeli retail giants like the Super-Sol supermarket chain and cellular service provider Cellcom.

Nochi Dankner.Credit: Moti Milrod

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