Dankner: I'm the one most injured

Nochi Dankner told "Globes" today: I believed in IDB all along; I invested all my wealth in buying more and more shares in the group.

In perhaps a last effort to convince the court and avoid losing control of IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. (TASE:IDBH), Nochi Dankner gave his perspective on the latest events at the company today, and explained why control of IDB should not be wrested from him, as the company's creditors have decided to do.

Admitting that mistakes were made in the past, leaving IDB insolvent with debts amounting to NIS 2 billion, Danker said, "It's important to me that the public should know that the person who has been most injured by what has happened is me, because I believed in IDB all along and invested all my wealth in buying more and more shares in the group. You also have to remember that, during my time at IDB, the group companies have paid interest on bonds and loans to the tune of tens of billions of shekels and have met all their commitments," Dankner stressed.

"Even in these challenging days, at the height of the proceedings for putting together a debt settlement for IDB Holding, we continue to record achievements: the deal to sell Clal Insurance, which I am working on completing and in connection with which I met the Chinese buyers here this week; the deal to sell Given Imaging; the merger of Koor and Discount Investment, and more.

"I think that, thanks to our management and leadership, despite it being such a challenging period for me, the return expected for the creditors of IDB Holding in the debt arrangement has risen from NIS 0.20 to at least NIS 0.70, and I believe that, if our bid wins, the recovery will ultimately be complete."

"The court and the regulators should be concerned"

Of his rival in the control battle, Moti Ben-Moshe (whose joint offer with Eduardo Elsztain won the creditors' support), Danker said, "I have nothing personal against Ben-Moshe, but in all my years in business, and certainly in the decade that I have led IDB, I have never met a businessman who is supposedly so successful who is so little known, in Israel, in Germany, at the banks, at the investment institutions, at the regulators. I emphasize that more is concealed than revealed about him.

"I feel certain that the IDB case cannot be decided without there being full disclosure about Moti Ben-Moshe, and particularly about the sources of his money and the identities of the controlling interest and the beneficiaries of his dealings.

"Clearly, the IDB Holding creditors just want their money back, and it's not their job to solve the Ben-Moshe mystery. The state authorities, the regulators, and the court-appointed professionals should be concerned. You must remember that this is not a children's game. It's a matter of control of Clal Insurance, Cellcom, Shufersal, Properties & Building companies that manage public funds to the tune of many billions of shekels and employ tens of thousands of people."

Elsztain exploited my trust

Of his former partner, Eduardo Elsztain, who ultimately teamed with Ben-Moshe, Dankner says, "Elsztain's intentions towards me were good, as were mine towards him. I opened the doors of IDB to him, and the doors of my home. That's how I am. I placed my trust in him. I was surprised and disappointed when he cynically decided to exploit my trust and the complicated situation I was in at IDB Holding to reopen and repeatedly change the agreements between us, until in the end he made a rival bid and even joined up with Ben-Moshe. Apparently that's how they do business in Argentina. It's not my way."

Of the results of the votes by the IDB creditors, Dankner says that "You have to remember that, three weeks ago, legal votes took place, in which we were about to win outright. That was obvious to everybody. After four days of voting, a few hours before voting ended, Elsztain and Ben-Moshe managed to stop the procedure, when they realized that they were about to sustain a defeat. They took the law into their hands and displayed contempt of the court at the bondholders meeting.

"In the second voting round too we were about to win, after we put together a strong and varied group of investors, with deep pockets, in Israel and overseas. But then, at the height of the voting, came the letter from the Deputy Attorney General Avi Licht about the Business Concentration Law, and there began a drift of voters who had supported us to the other side. Despite this, when the votes of interested parties are disqualified, they will not reach the 75% required."

On the alternative of liquidation raised in court yesterday, Dankner says, "I read in one of the newspapers that I'm in favor of liquidation. That's not correct. The liquidation option is good only if it gives the creditors more than the company's offer. In the case of IDB, the situation is completely the opposite: the company's offer gives an immediate injection of cash of over NIS 1 billion, new money coming from outside to repay the creditors, and an injection into IDB Development. That's certainly preferable to liquidation."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 16, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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