Elsztain arrives in Israel in support of Dankner

Argentinean billionaire demonstrates his support for embattled tycoon Nochi Dankner and his plan to save debt-ridden IDB.

June 4, 2013 21:59
1 minute read.
Nochi Dankner

Nochi Dankner 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

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 down.

“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 lawyers.

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 opportunity.

“We have studied the assets, we like the business, [and we would like to make a big] investment in Israel,” Elsztain said.

In the 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 said.

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