Egypt to Begin Importing Israeli Gas in 2019

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An Israeli gas platform is seen in the Mediterranean Sea
An Israeli gas platform is seen in the Mediterranean SeaCredit: אלבטרוס

Egypt to begin importing Israeli gas in  2019

Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings plans to start importing gas from Israel for re-export in the first quarter of 2019, sources in the country’s energy sector said on Sunday, under agreements signed in February to buy $15 billion worth of gas over 10 years. “Imports will start in small quantities first and will gradually increase to reach their climax in September 2019,” one source told Reuters. The source gave no details on prices or quantities. Partners in Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan offshore gas fields, which include Delek Group, Isramco and Ratio, said in February that they would supply Dolphinus with around 64 billion cubic meters of gas over a decade. Although controversial in Egypt, Cairo hopes that the imports will help in its efforts to become a regional energy hub. Delek shares ended up 0.4% at 528.60 shekels ($143.15). (Reuters)

Knesset approves Israel Post privatization

The Knesset Finance Committee on Sunday approved the plan to privatize Israel Post, but MKs criticized the way the process is being handled.  Only opposition lawmakers and committee chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), were present for the vote to sell 20% of the postal service to a strategic investor and another 20% through an initial public offering. However, lawmakers demanded that treasury and Government Corporations Authority officials appear before the committee before the sale takes place to detail what they are doing to ensure critical government interests in the postal service. They also criticized the treasury’s failure to provide a detailed accounting of Israel Post’s assets. “The postal service has been a catastrophe,” said Gafni. “There’s been some improvement, but not enough and we don’t want to stop the process. On the other hand, we bear responsibility to employees and the public’s assets.” (Avi Waksman) 

Mizrahi, Union to appeal merger refusal

Mizrahi Tefahot Bank and Union Bank will appeal to Israel’s anti-trust court a decision by the Antitrust Authority to reject a planned merger between the two banks, Mizrahi said on Sunday. The appeals comes less than three months after the authority rejected a plan by Mizrahi, Israel’s third-largest bank, to buy Union, the sixth-largest, in an all share deal valued at 1.4 billion shekels ($380 million). The two banks justified the merger on the grounds that it would better enable them to compete with Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi, the country’s two dominant lenders. The Bank of Israel had supported the merger, but the Antitrust Authority said in May that the loss of Union Bank from the market would likely exacerbate the lack of competition. Mizrahi shares finished up 2.1% at 72.47 shekels.  Union shares rose 3.7% to 15.41.(Reuters)

Rules on blank-check firms may be eased

The Israel Securities Authority said on Sunday it is weighing a plan to ease rules on special-purpose acquisition companies. An ISA source, who asked not to be named, said officials would probably set ceilings on how much capital they can raise, and how long they can hold on to it without investing it. SPACs, which are publicly-traded companies set up to buy or merge with another business, were popular in the 1990s until the largest of them, a company called Credit Lines, collapsed, leaving behind 500 million shekels ($135 million at current exchange rates) in debts. Since then, the ISA has effectively barred SPCAs by insisting that with a few exceptions, companies must have been in business for at least one year before they can conduct an initial public offering. (Assa Sasson)

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