Dankner, Livnat Balk at Legal Fight Over Controversial Hanson Cement Acquisition

Clal Industries and Investments, a subsidiary of Nochi Dankner's IDB group, has called off the merge of cement company Hanson Israel Ltd., Clal's joint chief executive Zvi Livnat announced yesterday. The NIS 450 million acquisition was to have been made through Mashav Initiative and Development, a subsidiary of Clal Industries and Investments. In a statement issued by the company, Clal said the decision was made after a thorough review of the move that the company has been conducting over the past few months.

Although anti-trust regulator Ronit Kan had made no decision one way or another as yet, she has expressed dissatisfaction with the deal, and Livnat accordingly announced that Heidleberg Cement, the owner of Hanson Israel, has agreed to call off the deal, the company stated.

The Anti-trust Authority had been expected to nix the deal that would have put the country's two largest building materials companies, Hanson and Nesher Israel Cement, under the ownership of IDB's holding group.

Hanson had also preferred not to wait for Mashav's appeal of the transaction, and industry sources estimated that Mashav would prefer to invest its efforts in operating the business rather than appeals that could continue for over a year, ending with the transaction not being approved in any case.

In a statement issued subsequent to Livnat's announcement, Kan confirmed that Mashav and Hanson Israel have withdrawn their plans for a merger. "The regulator met with the parties before the announcement that the merger plans had been withdrawn, and voiced serious concerns about market competition that arose in the authority's review of the merger," the regulator said.