The investor who is seeking to buy El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) is Eli Rozenberg, son of Kenny (Naftali) Rozenberg, a US-based businessman who founded the Center HealthCare nursing home chain. "Globes" revealed last Wednesday that Rozenberg (then unnamed) had approached the Government Companies Authority and expressed interest in acquiring the airline.
Rozenberg is currently in talks with El Al parent company Knafaim. The talks are apparently focused on El Al's ability to meet the conditions for receiving state aid.
Meanwhile, El Al is making progress towards receiving aid. El Al representatives held meetings with officials at the Ministry of Finance today. In a letter to El Al employees, company CEO Gonen Usishkin said, "It is clear that the state is committed to helping El Al on condition that El Al takes steps to help itself. This means implementing the program presented to the Ministry of Finance precisely and according to the stages set out." The program involves substantial downsizing, with about a third of the workforce to be laid off.
El Al's board of directors has already decided to accept the state's proposal and to begin the process of an equity offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, in which the state will buy the shares if the public does not take them up, meaning in effect nationalization of the airline. El Al's management has signed agreements on streamlining measures with three of the four sectors of its workforce unionized within the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel): the cabin staff, the administrative employes, and the technical staff, together numbering some 5,500 employees. The agreements will save El Al about $120 million annually, through layoffs and pay cuts. The airline still has to reach agreement with its 650 pilots.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 12, 2020
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