Israeli Tax Agents Raid Orbotech Offices Amid Demand of $58 Million in Taxes

Orbotech's stock price falls by around 8 percent to $33.76

Israel Tax Authority offices in Jerusalem.
Lior Mizrahi

Israel Tax Authority agents raided on Monday the Yavneh offices of Orbotech, the Israeli electronic-device quality-inspection technology company. The agents also raided the offices of Orbotech’s accounting firm, the Israeli affiliate of Price Waterhouse Coopers. Staff at both offices were questioned by the tax agents.

In a related development Orbotech, shares of which are traded on the Nasdaq exchange, informed the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission on Monday that the company is the subject of a criminal investigation by Israel’s Tax Authority, which is demanding payment of $58 million (207 million shekels) in taxes. As of early afternoon on Monday New York time, Orbotech’s stock price had fallen by around 8 percent to $33.76.

The investigation relates to tax planning by Orbotech between 2012 and 2014. The company said it is cooperating with the investigation.

In its SEC filing, Orbotech stated in part: “The company believes that it has made adequate provisions for its potential tax liabilities in its financial statements in all periods. Based on the advice of its tax consultants, the company believes that it has strong arguments to dispute the positions taken by the [Israel Tax Authority] in the assessment and intends vigorously to contest the assessment in accordance with Israeli law.”

For the first quarter of this year, the company reported revenues of $187 million, a drop of 1.5 percent over the quarter a year earlier. It had adjusted quarterly net profits of $22.3 million, down from $23.2 million the year before.