Argentinean billionaire Eduardo Elsztain on Tuesday arrived in Israel and held a
press conference to demonstrate his support for embattled tycoon Nochi Dankner
and his plan to save debt-ridden IDB, which involves a substantial cash
investment from Elsztain.
“The reason of my trip is only to confirm that
we are ready to move forward,” Elsztain said just hours after touching
“We are really ready to move forward very seriously. We have the
funds to move very fast.”
Elsztain arrived during a crucial week for the
conglomerate, as a court will take up a bondholder proposal that could wrest
control of the company from Dankner. Elsztain said Dankner’s counteroffer would
be better for bondholders, investors, the banks and the companies IDB owns. “Our
proposal is the only one that brings new monies into the company,” he said,
adding that liquidating the company would only bring more money to the
When asked about Dankner, whose mismanagement and tycoon status
have turned him into somewhat of a bogeyman to the Israeli public, Elsztain was
quick to defend him.
“I believe that he’s a person who did a lot of good
here,” he said. Having dealt with three debt crises of his own as a businessman,
most of them a result of Argentina’s macroeconomic instability, Elsztain said
Dankner’s situation compelled him, and he saw a good business
“We have studied the assets, we like the business, [and we
would like to make a big] investment in Israel,” Elsztain said.
eyes of a wary Israeli public, an even stronger selling point than Elsztain’s
experience navigating debt problems in the past (“The worst thing you could do
is sell assets during the storm,” he said) may be that his injection of cash
will give him influence over Dankner in running the company.
“In the next
six months, he’ll have to hear me more than he has strength to hear,” Elsztain
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