Diesenhaus joins race to buy Israir

Ofer Chodorov Photo: PR

The three other bidders are the Elco group, the Kedma Capital investment fund, and the Nir Weizman-Brown Hotels group.

Israeli tourism services group Diesenhaus, headed by CEO Ofer Chodorov, is interested in the acquisition of Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd., sources inform "Globes." Diesenhaus, probably in combination with another party, is one of four groups holding talks for the acquisition of the airline from Eduardo Elsztain's IDB Development.

The three other groups are Nir Weizman together with the Brown Hotels chain; Elco Holdings Ltd. (TASE: ELCO), controlled by the Salkind family; and the Kedma Capital investment fund. As far as is known, the Weizman-Brown Hotels group made the biggest bid for Israir - $70 million, but Israir's pilots oppose the plan for this acquisition, which is based on incurring debt, out of concern for the airline's future. The other bids are in the $57-60 million range.

For Diesenhaus, acquiring Israir and merging it into the group would close a circle; Diesenhaus also previously belonged to the IDF group, being held, together with Israir, through IDB Development subsidiary IDB Tourism.

In 2015, IDB sold Diesenhaus Tourism, which was separated from the company's incoming tourism business (retained by Israir), to BTC, owned by Chodorov, Sami Sagol, and the heirs of Yuli Ofer, for NIS 48 million. Chodorov also acquired half of Diesenhaus's incoming tourist business from Israir in a NIS 26 million deal.

Most of Diesenhaus's current activity involves outgoing tourism. The company now wants to expand into incoming tourism, which is growing every year. Among other things, Diesenhaus owns the Tzabar brand; a share in Sprint, which focuses on trips to exotic destinations; and the Cruiseit agency, which specializes in cruise vacations.

Diesenhaus was founded in 1926 by Yair Solomon Diesenhaus. 60 year after it was founded, the company was acquired by IDB group subsidiary Clal Tourism. Diesenhaus has 40 branches deployed nationwide in Israel, a NIS 450 million annual sales turnover, and 500 employees. Diesenhaus is the Israeli representative of global tourism corporation BCD, which operates in 100 countries worldwide.

The Diesenhaus group said, "We do not talk about deals before they are ready. As long as negotiations are taking place with a serious concern like the Brown group, we are not entering into negotiations in this matter."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 11, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

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Ofer Chodorov Photo: PR
Ofer Chodorov Photo: PR
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