Hamashbir Lazarchan on its way to the TASE

Hamashbir Lazarchan Israel Ltd., the private retail chain, is planning an initial public offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, which could take place by the end of this month at an estimated value of between $80 million and $100m, The Jerusalem Post has learned. As part of the IPO process, Hamashbir reported this week that Mercantile Provident Funds, which holds a 9.99 percent stake in the retail chain, would sell 5% of its holding. Mercantile Provident Funds, which purchased the stake in June last year for $5.5m. on a company value of $55m. is expected to make a 25% yield on the investment. Under the terms of the agreement, Mercantile Provident funds will sell 5% of their Hamashbir shares at a minimal value of NIS 300m. In 2006, the retail chain, which was purchased by Rami Shavit four years ago, reported a pre-tax profit of NIS 24.9m compared with NIS 2.5m in 2005. Sales in 2006 rose by 17% from NIS 776m in 2005 to NIS 907m.