Haifa bay power plant 58.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Makhteshim Agan Industries Ltd. management and workers committee on Sunday
signed an agreement to streamline the company. Representatives of the Histadrut
Labor Federation and of Makhteshim’s parent company, IDB Holding Corp. Ltd.,
also signed the agreement.
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It was reached after prolonged negotiations,
demonstrations and other protest measures.
The agreement lifts a major
barrier for the sale of the agrochemicals company to China National Chemical
Corporation (ChemChina). A sale would likely result in Makhteshim being delisted
from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
A cornerstone of the agreement is
Makhteshim’s promise to keep production in Israel rather than exporting it in
the event of a sale. The Histadrut said this was the first time that such a
commitment has been given by an employer. Makhteshim’s management has undertaken
to keep the company’s main production facilities operating until at least June
The agreement also includes the voluntary retirement of Makhteshim
employees over the age of 57. This means 100 employees at the Agan Chemical
Works factory in Ashdod and another 100 employees at Makhteshim’s Ramat Hovav
factory; 70 employees will retire in 2011 and the other 130 employees in 2012.
The retiring employees will receive salaries until the age of 67, as well as a
one-time severance bonus.
A capital-market source told Globes: “This is
another milestone toward a final signing on the agreement with ChemChina. IDB
wants a quiet sale and is dealing with the burning issues, such as employees,
before signing the main agreement. All in all, this is good news for the
Yaakov Cohen, chairman of the Makhteshim workers
committee, said, “On behalf of the workers, I thank all the parties involved in
the negotiations. I think that we succeeded in achieving good results from our
perspective, which guarantee our rights and protect jobs.”
Two weeks ago,
Makhteshim notified the TASE that it was in talks for the sale of the company to
ChemChina, which offered to buy 70 percent of the company at a company value of
$2.7 billion, well above its market cap prior to the announcement. The
announcement ignited a fight with Makhteshim’s employees, who launched a
campaign against IDB controlling shareholder Nochi Dankner over the possible
transfer of the company’s production to China.