Viola set to take over Gaon Holdings for NIS 70m

If a deal is reached Gaon chairman Moshe Gaon will lose control of the company founded by his late father, Benny Gaon.

Viola Private Equity is set to take control of B. Gaon Holdings Ltd. (TASE: GAON) for NIS 70 million for a 56% stake in the company. The announcement of the negotiations on the investment sent prices for Gaon Holdings' bonds soaring. If a deal is reached Gaon chairman Moshe Gaon will lose control of the company founded by his late father, Benny Gaon, 15 years ago, after he quit Koor Industries Ltd. (TASE:KOR).

Viola will also receive options exercisable for shares, which could increase its stake in Gaon Holdings by an additional 10% for NIS 20 million.

Gaon Holdings owes its bondholders NIS 160 million, and they are worried about the company's ability to meet the commitment. The next payment of NIS 44 million is due in May. The bondholders have threatened to call the debt if the company did not meet their demands.

Gaon Holdings owns 21% of Meitav Investment House Ltd., which is due to merge with DS Apex Holdings Ltd. (TASE:DSAP). Gaon Holdings lost NIS 65 million in 2011, mostly for write-offs on Ace Auto Depot Ltd. (TASE:ACDP), but reported a net profit of NIS 2 million in January-September 2012.

Gaon Holdings reported NSI 362 million in current liabilities at the end of September 2012 and NIS 427 million in long-term liabilities, compared with NIS 210 million in shareholders' equity and NIS 80 million in cash.

The company's other holdings include Aguagro Fund LP cleantech venture capital fund, 51% of Middle East Tube Ltd. (METCO) (TASE: TUBE), and 50% of Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories Ltd.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 20, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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