Israeli wealth gets more concentrated

Nineteen families controlled 39 percent of the income of the 500 leading Israeli companies.

Sammy Ofer 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Sammy Ofer 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Wealth in Israel is becoming more concentrated, as 19 families controlled 39 percent of the income of the 500 leading companies last year, up from 33% in 2006, according to a Business Data Israel report released Monday. "The privatization of Israel's state-owned refineries contributed significantly to rising wealth concentration in the country's economy," the BDI concentration index report said. According to the survey, the 19 leading families in the Israeli economy controlled aggregate revenue of $298 billion in 2007, compared with NIS 248b. in 2006, while total income of the 500 top companies in the economy reached NIS 770b. The Ofer family moved up to the top of the 2007 index from second place in the previous year. Privatization of the oil refineries helped the Ofer family's percentage of wealth control within the group of 19 rise to 18.7%. The Ofer family's wealth was also boosted by an increase in revenues from its subsidiaries, Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. and Israel Chemicals Ltd. Nochi Dankner, the chairman of IDB Development Corp., dropped to second place with 16% of the aggregate revenue of the country's 19 wealthiest families. The Yitzhak Tshuva family, which controls the Delek Group, moved from No. 4 in 2006 to No. 3 in 2007 with a 12.1% share. The Delek Group expanded to markets in Europe and the US last year. The Weissman family, which controls Alon Israel Oil Company Ltd., was No. 4 with 10.2%. It was No. 3 in 2006. The Saban family, at No. 5 with a 6.6% share, and the Arison family, at No. 6 with 6.4%, maintained their positions from 2006. Zadik Bino remained No. 7 with a 5.9% share, followed by the Federman family at No. 8 and the Leviev family at No. 9. The Borovitch family was No. 10. The BDI study did not reflect the families' actual wealth or income, but rather the extent of their control of leading companies in the economy, as indicated by the total income of the companies in which the 19 families have a controlling stake.