Recycling Factory Owner May Ride to Molitan's Rescue

The employees of the Molitan textile factory in Nahariya hope to learn today what the future holds for their employer after an investor in the textile business expressed his willingness to put money immediately into the troubled sewing thread manufacturer.

Zvi Meir, the owner of a textile recycling plant in the Barkan industrial area, appeared in Haifa district Court yesterday and said he was willing to invest in Molitan. Meir's announcement was a lifesaver for the workers and the Histadrut labor federation, after Bank Discount announced it had rejected the compromise proposed by Judge Adi Zarnakin in court on Sunday.

After Meir's announcement, Zarnakin sent Meir and the receiver court-appointed on the bank's behalf to talk in an attempt to reach an agreement, and the sides are scheduled to provide their response today.

Molitan has not paid salaries to its 100 workers in two months.

"We must not let this factory close," said Meir yesterday after the court session. "I know Molitan's operations in general from my [involvement] in the industry, and I do not think I will have a problem operating [the company]," he added.

Asher Shmueli, the head of the Histadrut's Western Galilee region, told Haaretz yesterday: "He said the sides were making progress and hoped they would reach a compromise by today's court session."

Meanwhile, another factory in the Western Galilee is facing the threat of closure: B. A. Electronics in the Tefen Industrial Park has not been paying salaries or suppliers for months. Owner Baruch Ohayon told Haaretz that the electronic equipment manufacturer has been in business since 1988 and was profitable for years, but last year, with the drop in the dollar and the world economic crisis, the company ran into a cash-flow problem and the banks have limited its credit.

Ohayon says the company still has a future and has NIS 6 million in orders on hand. He said he has asked the finance and industry, trade and labor ministries for aid numerous times, but they turned him down because the banks have refused to provide credit. Ohayon said the firm only needs a NIS 2 million loan to save the business. "It is a shame that everyone is talking about strengthening the Galilee and periphery, but in practice they are cutting the grants and benefits for the region," said Ohayon.

The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry said it knew of the firm's difficulties and the regional manager is in touch with the owners in an attempt to aid the factory.