Palestinian developer still interested in J'lem's Nof Zion

Bashar al-Masri examining project after cancellation of its acquisition by supermarket owner Rami Levy and his Australian Jewish partner Kevin Bermeister.

By GLOBES CORRESPONDENT
August 17, 2011 22:46
1 minute read.
Nof Zion

nof zion 311. (photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)

Palestinian developer Bashar al-Masri is examining the Nof Zion project in eastern Jerusalem following the cancellation of its acquisition by supermarket owner Rami Levy and his Australian Jewish partner Kevin Bermeister on Sunday, people familiar with the matter told Globes.

“Levy came for Zionism, becoming the darling of the national-religious camp, and quit over feasibility,” a source close to the talks by Levy and Bermeister to acquire Digal Investment and Holdings Ltd. and its main asset, Nof Zion, which overlooks the Old City. Levy canceled the deal on Sunday.

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Despite Digal’s notice to the TASE about the cancellation, sources close to the company believe Levy and Bermeister have not given up taking over the troubled company and might acquire it by buying Digal’s bonds from Bank Leumi. The company owes NIS 160 million, half of it to the bank, which has a lien on the company’s assets.

“The bank will enter into new negotiations with the company, and it will review its available options to reach a settlement with the company’s owners,” Bank Leumi said in a statement.

Levy and Bermeister planned to acquire Digal’s assets, including Nof Zion and Kilas Investment Corporation, for NIS 123m.

Digal’s bondholders would receive NIS 36m., which would represent a 60 percent write-off on the NIS 60m. owed them.

Masri also offered Digal’s bondholders 60 agorot on the shekel for their bonds. Heavy pressure by the national-religious camp on Bank Leumi resulted in an ideological and political fight that led the bondholders to opt for Levy and Bermeister’s offer instead.

“I reject the contention that the buyers received incorrect presentations,” Digal chairman Yehuda Levy said Sunday. “A new buyer will come. I heard from some investors that there are parties interested in the company. We’re talking about good assets; there is no dispute about that.”

The TASE suspended trading in Digal’s share because it has not published financial reports this year.


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