Allied Investment Buys 30% of Newpan

Allied Investments has purchased 30 percent of Newpan, an appliance importer specializing in entertainment products with estimated annual sales of $100 million.

Industry sources said the company was sold at a value of NIS 100-120 million.

Allied's major holdings include Champion Motors (100 percent), Ashtrom (40 percent), Europcar (33 percent) and various real estate ventures. The company has been in operation since 1965.

Newpan, established 18 years ago, specializes in home video equipment and other types of electronic appliances. It is the exclusive Israeli importer of several international brand names, including Toshiba, Grundig, De'Longhi, KitchenAid, Magimix, Pilot, Kenwood, JBL and KEF. About a year ago, it purchased Almor Audio, the Israeli franchisee of several other major international brand names, including Bose, Marantz and Infinity.

Newpan's annual sales totaled $80 million in 2000 and $130 million in 2001, but are thought to have decreased in 2002 and 2003 due to the recession. Before its sale to Allied, it was owned by the Gior group.

Allied's CEO, Yigal Schreiber, explained the decision to purchase Newpan as follows: "We are invested in companies in all sorts of fields. We found an interesting company with people who are on our wavelength and we decided to go in."

Schreiber acknowledged that the appliance market is a tough one right now, but noted that Allied is active in a number of tough markets, including real estate and cars. In 2003, sales of Audi, Seat and Volkswagen cars - the makes imported by Champion Motors - fell by more than 40 percent.

"We believe the [appliance] market will grow - and we didn't even know that the finance minister would decide to help us by lowering [import] taxes," Schreiber said.

About six months ago, Newpan began merger talks with Isfar Home-Tech, owned by Loni Herzikovic. Both companies were interested in exploring a merger because of the fierce competitiveness of the appliance market and the steep drop - of about 25 percent per year - in appliance sales over the last two years. While these talks were still in progress, Newpan also opened negotiations with Allied. The talks with Allied went on for months, but in the end, Newpan preferred Allied's offer.

According to industry sources, Newpan is profitable, while Isfar Home-Tech is not.