The government completed the first stage of the privatization of Oil Refineries Ltd. (Bazan) Tuesday, officially turning over the stock of the Ashdod oil refinery to Paz Oil Company in exchange for NIS 3,251,409,213.
The Bazan privatization is planned to continue next year with the public offering of shares in the Haifa refinery, which Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson said would be the "largest issuing done in Israel."
The Ashdod and Haifa refineries would then compete against each other as independent companies, allowing the government to stop regulating fuel prices, the ministry said.
Paz wrote the NIS 3.25b. check to Bazan, which will pass on all or most of the sum to the state coffers by the end of the year. Any remaining part of the payment will revert to the Treasury with the sale of the Haifa refinery, Bazan's sole remaining asset, the ministry said.