Ashdod Port CEO reveals IPO plans

Shaul Schneider credt: Shlomi Yosef
Shaul Schneider credt: Shlomi Yosef

Shaul Schneider told the Globes Infrastructures Conference that only 49% of the port's shares would be sold, so control would remain in government hands.

Speaking at the Globes Infrastructures Conference, Ashdod Port CEO Shaul Schneider spoke to "Globes" correspondent Oren Dor about the company's privatization plans. Ashdod Port is the only port left in Israel still operated by the government.

Schneider said, "The events of October 7 have changed the government's approach and brought about a rethink. Not everything can be privatized as a basis for competition. Ashdod Port has to remain in government hands but it is an enterprise that needs investment and money in order to be more competitive. Therefore, we have two options. The first is to raise debt, which is less attractive because of the interest rate, or it is possible to conduct an IPO of a minority stake. We are talking about this with the Government Companies Authority and the Histadrut is also in the picture.

"A flotation of 49% of the port would improve the capital structure and allow it to compete more effectively. We are in a process of an initial valuation and in another month we will receive it. We are talking about several billion. We have to deduct the cash in our coffers and see what the infrastructures are worth to operators. Haifa Port is worth NIs 4 billion but the second offer was for less than NIS 3 billion. That's also our valuation after deducting the cash."

What will the employees get out of all this?

"Without dedicated employees we would not have achieved these results. During the events of October 7, under a barrage of rockets and under fire, people worked full out, loaded and unloaded goods. The employees are entitled to and worth receiving a package as a result of this IPO. We are in the initial stages but there has to be a package. In high-tech it is customary to give out options, perhaps they can purchase shares under preferential terms."

What must be arranged before a prospectus is issued? There is criticism of activities like the pace of unloading and the shifts, for example.

"Let's not forget that Ashdod Port is ranked as the 109th port worldwide. But when you look at all the parameters, we are efficient. You can always become even more efficient and we are working on it. In terms of financial reports we are preparing because our reports comply with regulations and provide full disclosure. We are rated AA+ by Ma'alot.

Full disclosure: The Conference was sponsored by Israel Railways, Ackerstein and Egged together with Ashdod Port

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on March 20, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

Shaul Schneider credt: Shlomi Yosef
Shaul Schneider credt: Shlomi Yosef
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