Tshuva, Shahar to offer Izzy Cohen Phoenix post
The outgoing Africa-Israel CEO is abroad; a meeting between the parties has apparently been set for next week.
Phoenix's CEO is Eyal Lapidot, and its chairman is Moshe Barkat, who took up the post in April 2011, after the company was without a chairman for several months. Tshuva's Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) owns 61% of Phoenix, and Mayer Cars and Trucks Ltd., owned by Shahar and Israel Kass own 26%. Shahar is apparently behind the push to offer Cohen a job, with Tshuva's consent, in appreciation of Cohen's skills and belief that he can improve Phoenix and boost its value, ahead of a future sale of the company.
A Shahar aide told "Globes", "Issues of this kind are handled by the controlling shareholder, and any query must be directed to him."
If Cohen is appointed to a senior post at Phoenix (which is not at all certain), capital market sources believe that Lapidot, who is known to be dominant and independent CEO, will find it difficult to get along with him. There have been reports that Lapidot is trying to organize a group to acquire control of the company in which he be one of the buyers.
Delek has been seeking to sell its holding in Phoenix, following the publication of the Committee on Concentration in Economy's recommendations, which include the separation of financial and non-financial companies by the same holding company within six years. Delek has met with potential buyers for Phoenix, including global private equity fund KKR & Co. LP. However, as Delek itself as reported, "No offer has been made or any agreement drawn up on this subject, and it is not clear whether any offer will be made."
There appears to be little chance of a sale at the moment, given that the market value of Delek's controlling stake in Phoenix is barely half of the value listed in Delek's books. The value of Delek's stake in Phoenix is NIS 1 billion, after a 25% slide in Phoenix's share price since the beginning of the year, compared with the NIS 1.9 billion at which Delek books the holding. Even a sale at a substantial premium would cause Delek to report a heavy loss.
Last week, Cohen announced his resignation from Africa-Israel, controlled by chairman Lev Leviev, after four years in the job. During his tenure, Cohen managed the company through stormy times, including the signing of the largest ever debt settlement in the history of the Israeli capital market.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 5, 2012
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012
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