After six months of negotiations, Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) has signed an agreement to sell the customer assets portfolio of Poalim Switzerland in its branches in Switzerland and Luxembourg to the Safra Sarasin Group. Bank Hapoalim's announcement today indicates that it will received 20-23 million Swiss francs (NIS 75-83 million) on the sale.
The proceeds are almost 30% less than the 27-33 million Swiss francs reported when the negotiations between the parties began. It is believed that the reason is that some of Poalim Switzerland's customers have either already withdrawn their money or announced that they do not intend to switch to Safra. At the same time, Safra itself went over the customer portfolio and selected which customers it wanted to accept. Completion of the deal is expected this year, subject to regulatory approval.
Bank Hapoalim announced last October that it was terminating the activity of Poalim Switzerland, following the extension of the investigation by the US authorities. The investigation, which involves suspicion that Bank Hapoalim abetted tax evasion by its US customers, is focusing on Poalim Switzerland. The bank's reports indicate that the cost of terminating its activity in Switzerland totaled NIS 131 million.
Bank Hapoalim has also made a NIS 1.2 billion provision for the investigation in the US, but its reports show that the actual fine is likely to be substantially higher than this, because a provision has so far been made for only one of a number of possible elements of the fine.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 12, 2018
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