Boymelgreen mulls joint projects with Dankner in India

Boymelgreen Capital Markets acquired Azorim Investments from IDB Holding, while Shaya Boymelgreen’s relations with Africa-Israel chairman Lev Leviev have soured.

Will US real estate tycoon Shaya Boymelgreen replace Lev Leviev with Nochi Dankner? Sources inform ''Globes'' that Boymelgreen and Dankner are in contact and considering a number of joint investments in India. Azorim Investment CEO David Lev is due to visit India in a few days. He has already made a number of trips to India recently.

Dankner apparently initiated the proposal for joint investments, after IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. (TASE:IDBH) sold Azorim Investment, Development and Construction Ltd. (TASE: AZRM) to Boymelgreen Capital Ltd. (TASE:BMGN) for $500 million. Boymelgreen apparently believes in the Israeli residential market.

Until recently, Boymelgreen was a close partner of Leviev, the chairman and controlling shareholder in Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL; Pink Sheets:AFIVY), in real estate projects in Manhattan, Miami, and Las Vegas. The two men’s relationship soured recently, and they decided to end their collaboration.

Leviev and Boymelgreen recently sold three large Miami lots to a third party for $89 million, after a long period with no apartment sales. Sources close to their companies said the dismal situation in Miami was one reason for the resignation of Africa-Israel CEO Pinchas Cohen, and for the severing of ties between Leviev and Boymelgreen.

The US real estate market, especially for vacation homes, has been contracting from its peak of a few years ago. Many projects are being offered for sale at discounts because of over-supply and low demand.

In contrast, India is considered the next big thing in real estate, and many Israeli companies are examining the market, and marking it as their next investment channel, after Eastern Europe.

Big Shopping Centers (2004) Ltd. (TASE:BIG has set up an Indian subsidiary, Big India, with a local partner who owns 40% of the joint venture. Big India bought two half-acre lots on which it plans to build commercial centers at an investment of $40 million.

Elbit Medical Imaging Ltd. (Nasdaq: EMITF; TASE: EMIT) chairman Motti Zisser declared early this year that he planned to invest in India. The company plans to build three commercial centers there, which will become an important component of the company’s real estate assets.

“India now resembles the real estate market in Eastern Europe ten years ago. Elbit Medical accumulated great experience in Eastern Europe, and it sees India as an excellent business opportunity,” said company sources.

Alony Hetz Property and Investments Ltd. (TASE: ALHE) controlling shareholder Natan Hetz recently announced plans to invest $100 million with partners in Indian ventures. Alony Hetz will own 25% in this joint venture.

Gazit-Globe Ltd. (TASE: GLOB), controlled by chairman Chaim Katzman, and Ocif Investments and Development Ltd. (TASE: OCIF), controlled by Doron Aviv and Dafna Harlev, are also interested in investing in India.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on June 12, 2006

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2006

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