Africa Israel B9 Bondholders Press to Collect NIS 557m

Africa Israel's series B9 bondholders haven't given up. Last Thursday, their representatives asked the court bailiff's office to collect on an Africa Israel promissory note, after the company failed to pay NIS 557 million in principal it owed them.

This is one of the largest promissory notes on which execution has ever been sought in Israel.

The B9 bond series has the least time left of all Africa Israel bonds. Last week, the company had been scheduled to pay back bondholders in full - but it paid only the interest due.

That day, the B9 bondholders convened and authorized their representatives, including Global Finance 8, Yelin Lapidot and Menora Mivtachim as well as their attorney Guy Gissin, to take legal action to collect the debt.

At a general shareholders' meeting, the B9 bondholders had already threatened to take legal measures, including turning to the bailiff's office as well as seeking seizure actions and personal claims against Africa Israel's controlling shareholder, Lev Leviev, and its management and directors.

The bondholders' representatives have said they will not hesitate to treat Africa Israel like any other company that has failed to meet its obligations.

So far, the B9 bondholders have carried out their threat only to go to the bailiff's office, where a file is expected to be opened shortly, after which the company will be warned that it has 21 days to pay up.

The B9ers believe they have different interests than the owners of the struggling real estate company's other bond series, since their bonds were scheduled to come due soonest.

The holders of the other bond series have struck a debt rescheduling agreement with Africa Israel, and the draft was submitted last week to the Tel Aviv District Court for approval.

At the time, Judge Varda Alshech gave the B9 representatives five days to explain why their interests are different.

The largest B9 bondholders include Global Finance, with 30% of the bonds; the Menora insurance and the provident fund, with 9%; the Atudot pension fund, with 9%; and Phoenix with almost 9%. DS Investments group, Psagot and Clal Insurance each have close to a 20% interest in Global Finance.