Leviev`s Company Loses NIS 4.8 Billion in 2008

Africa Israel Investments loses more in fourth quarter of 2008 than in previous three quarters combined.

Lev Leviev's Africa Israel Investments lost more in the fourth quarter of 2008 than in the previous three quarters combined.

Annual losses for 2008 totaled NIS 4.8 billion, with NIS 2.7 billion sustained in the final quarter. In 2007, Africa Israel netted some NIS 4.4 billion, thanks largely to the floating of Russian subsidiary AFI Developments. The main reason for last year's massive losses was the crash in real estate values in the United States and Russia. Africa Israel issued a profit warning earlier this month, so the company's bottom line came as no surprise to investors.

The depreciation in the inventory of Africa Israel's land and buildings for sale contributed NIS 1.3 billion to the company's losses, and projects under construction lost NIS 2 billion of their value.

Africa Israel's fourth quarter revenues totaled NIS 1.2 billion, compared to NIS 2.8 billion in the parallel. Most of the revenues came from land and construction deals.

One significant figure that weighed heavily on the company's fourth quarter results was an NIS 1.9 billion decline in the value of projects under construction (a factor that did not even appear in the financial report for the parallel). The company lost NIS 2.4 billion from real estate initiatives, while profits from property rentals and management (NIS 81 million) and other revenues (NIS 30 million) were not enough to balance this picture.

Africa Israel's annual figures show revenues of NIS 6 billion, down from NIS 11 billion in 2007, and expenses totaling NIS 9 billion, up from about NIS 5 billion in 2007. Operating losses in 2008 totaled NIS 3.6 billion, compared to NIS 6 billion in operating profits in 2007. Last year's cash flow was a negative NIS 657 million, compared to negative cash flow of about NIS 1 billion in 2007.

The salary expense for Izzy Cohen, who took over as CEO in June 2008, totaled NIS 4.2 million. Cohen's gross salary was NIS 1.8 million, and he received an NIS 1.5 million adjustment grant and options worth NIS 980,000.

The wage cost for former CEO Erez Meltzer totaled NIS 8.4 million in 2008. Even though he left his post at the end of 2007, he received a year's wages as an adjustment grant and a bonus of $1.5 million. Alexander Khaldey, the CEO of AFI Development, cost the company NIS 6 million in 2008. He received a gross monthly salary of NIS 311,000, plus an NIS 2.3 million bonus.