Despite the great interest in Agrexco, only one bid was submitted for the company by yesterday's deadline. There is no serious buyer for the company that is currently in a stay of proceedings. Tel Aviv District Court Judge Varda Alshech agreed to Agrexco trustee Adv. Shlomo Nass's request to extend the stay of proceeding by two weeks to find a buyer. Nass said that negotiations were held with 15 different parties that expressed interest in the agriculture produce exporter, however some of the potential buyers asked for an additional 72 hours for legal checks and completing reviews with growers.
The parties that expressed interest in buying Agrexco include a consortium organized by Avraham Bigger, DS Apex Holdings Ltd. (TASE:DSAP), Irish-based Total Produce plc (LSE: TOT), and US equity fund Paine & Partners.
Nass said, "Over the last three weeks we have succeeded in collecting more than €15 million for the stay of proceedings, which is more than we expected. There is no doubt that if the company were liquidated, the money would not have come in." Nass added the offers that he received, "were not satisfactory." Tel Aviv District Court Judge Varda Alshech will hear the various creditors' positions and will make a ruling later in the day.
Agrexco represents agriculture produce under the Carmel and Alesia brands and is controlled by the government (30.3% of shares and a majority of its directors), the Agricultural Marketing Board (58.7%), and Tnuva Food Industries Ltd. (11%). Agrexco fell into financial difficulties after losing €33 million in 2010, bringing its total debt to €106 million.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 26, 2011
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