Business in Brief: April 4

Fischer names new deputy BoI head; Sbarro woes threaten Israeli branches; ILA markets land for new TA hotel.

Fischer names new deputy BoI head • By KOBY YESHAYAHOU
Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Stanley Fischer announced on Sunday that he will recommend to the cabinet to appoint Bank of Israel Research Department director Dr. Karnit Flug as deputy governor.
She will replace Zvi Eckstein, who will return to academe in July after five years in the post.
Under the new Bank of Israel Law, Flug will serve as a member of the monetary committee and administrative council, which will be set up in a few months.
Flug has worked at the Bank of Israel for 23 years, including 10 as head of the Research Department.
She joined the Bank of Israel as an economist at the Research Department in 1988, after working for five years at the IMF.
Fischer has also appointed Bank of Israel Market Operations Department director. Barry Topf as a senior advisor to the governor for monetary affairs and member of the monetary committee. Topf will continue to serve in his present post.
As a senior advisor to the governor, he will help formulate decisions and responses to the challenges facing current management of monetary policy.
Sbarro woes threaten Israeli branches • By ILANIT HAYUT
Sbarro Inc. is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday in the US, due to $365 million in debt, which places the Italian fast food chain’s Israeli franchises in doubt.
Sbarro Israel is already operating under a stay of proceedings following the collapse of Gold Brands Ltd., owned by Danny Werner, which owned the franchise through subsidiary Tukdan Ltd. The company has since closed many of its outlets, and now has around a dozen branches, mostly at mall fast food courts.
Sbarro filed for the stay of proceedings against Tukdan, on the grounds that it had not paid Sbarro royalties for several years. Tukdan signed the leases on the Sbarro outlets at the malls, which will render it difficult for the outlet's franchisees to stay in business.
ILA markets land for new TA hotel • By ORI CHUDY
The Israel Land Administration has published a tender for a six-dunam (1.5-acre) lot zoned a 40,000- square meter hotel and 2,000 square meters of commercial space in the south Kirya area in Tel Aviv.
The Land Administration’s minimum bid is NIS 24.3 million, not including VAT, plus an additional NIS 20 million in development costs.
The Land Administration said that the tender is limited to companies recommended by the Ministry of Tourism. The deadline to submit bids is August 7.
A few months ago, the Land Administration published a tender for lots zoned for 90,000 square meters of office and commercial space in the south Kirya area, on Menachem Begin Road near the Azrieli Towers.
Tycoon Yuli Ofer to build luxury hotel • By GLOBES’ CORRESPONDENT
Inventech Central Hotels Ltd., controlled by Yuli Ofer and Nimrod Rinat through Premium Holdings Ltd., is launching operations in Israel.
The company will buy, through a special project company in which it owns a 50% stake, land on Herbert Samuel Street on Tel Aviv’s shorefront, on which it plans to build a luxury hotel and residential high-rise. The price of the land is NIS 56 million.
The Inventech subsidiary has signed an option to buy the land. Inventech will provide a NIS 5 million loan for the initial payment.
If the provisional conditions for exercising some of the options for the lots are met during the 60-day loan period, and the negotiations to buy the rights to the remaining lots are completed, the loan will be converted into shares in the land, and the company will provide an additional owner's loan for the project, amounting to half of its costs.
Premium currently operates in Central and Eastern Europe in real estate through Central European Estates NV and in hotels, through Inventech.
TA-25 rises for sixth day
Israel’s TA-25 Index advanced for a sixth day, climbing 0.8% to 1,331.82 at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv.
Investors traded about NIS 1.26 billion in shares and convertible securities.
Brainsway Ltd. gained to the highest level since February 20, increasing 2% to NIS 9.054. The developer of devices for neurological disorders said its Deep TMS device got marketing approval in Europe for treating patients with Parkinsons and for those taking anti-depressants. (Bloomberg)