"The price at which El Al was issued isn't important. We'd have floated it for free, too," Transport Minister Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday morning, as trade in the privatized airline's shares opened on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
The planned flotation of El Al passed through exceptional hardships to reach the stage where its shares will be offered to the public for the first time today. But even after the issue, the list of dilemmas relating to the national airline's status will remain long.
U.S. billionaire William Davidson may join a group of investors to bid for the state's stake in Israel Discount Bank, sources told Haaretz yesterday.
Israel Discount Bank's chairman of the board, Arie Mientkavich, suffered two bitter defeats this week, both on his own turfs: law and regulation. The legal blow was landed by the Safra family, which concluded the sale of the controling interest in FIBI Holdings (which controls the First International Bank of Israel) to Zadik Bino and the Lieberman family.
"2003 will be the year of the pension" said the Supervisor of Capital Markets, Eyal Ben-Chelouche, in December 2002. Silvan Shalom was then finance minister and relations between the two were chilly.
It is difficult to argue against the root principle of veteran pension fund Mivtachim's decision to finance part of the purchase of the IDB concern by the group of investors headed by Nochi Dankner.