Just a few kilometers from the border with the Gaza Strip, with the sounds of mortar fire in the background and the permanent threat of Hamas' attack tunnels, Kibbutz Beeri's business is booming. The kibbutz management recently decided to distribute a NIS 250,000 dividend to each of the kibbutz members - a total of NIS 150 million, sources inform "Globes."
The money distributed to the kibbutz members comes from profits accumulated for years from activity in various sectors, principally the kibbutz's exclusive ownership of Be'eri Printers, which has a franchise from the Ministry of Transport to issue driving licenses in Israel. It is believed that this franchise generates NIS 8.5 million in revenue annually for the kibbutz.
Beeri Printing recently obtained a franchise to issue driving licenses for Israeli drivers for an additional three-year period, with a three year extension option. Sources said that the potential of this agreement was NIS 40 million in the coming years, after the company undertook to issue licenses made from polycarbonate - a material that makes forgery difficult. Because of the advanced printing method to which Be'eri Printing has committed itself, drivers seeking to renew their licenses will receive licenses with their pictures printed in blue and white.
Beeri Printing is one of the most advanced and best-known printing plants in Israel. Among other things, it prints checkbooks, shopping coupons, insurance documents, and envelopes. The company employs advanced printing lines that make forgery difficult.
In addition to the large-scale activity of Beeri Printing, the kibbutz also has other activities, such as field crops, including jojoba and marketing oil from the fruit to the cosmetics industry. Kibbutz Be'eri's activity also includes a boutique dairy that produces premium hand-made cheese.
Informed sources told "Globes" that the money divided among the kibbutz members had been accumulated in a fund for handling all of the kibbutz's economic activity. The fund swelled in recent years. "This is definitely not a case of distributing only profits from Be'eri Printing. We have other successful activities, so we decided to share these successes with all of the members. It is not easy being on the kibbutz right now. Life here, which maintains a good productive routine, is a great miracle. Although we are only four kilometers from the Gaza Strip border, and some of our crops reach the border fence, we are successful, and Be'eri is a good place to live in," a Be'eri resident told "Globes" today. "Profits from various activities were also distributed to the residents in the past, but not on this scale."
Beeri Printing, Kibbutz Beeri's economic spearhead, is a private company, and as such is not obligated to publish its results or the distribution of profits. The kibbutz refused to comment on the report today, as did its secretariat. "We don't talk about what we distribute or don't distribute," Kibbutz Be'eri business activity coordinator Eli Sharabi told "Globes." "Be'eri Printing has existed for over 60 years. This is not the first time that dividends have been distributed at the kibbutz, but we do not discuss details. We're modest people; we're in no rush to tell what we did and didn't distribute."
600 of the kibbutz's 1,100 residents recently benefited from the distributed profits, receiving amounts varying from NIS 100,000 to NIS 250,000, depending on a number of factors, such as seniority. "It's obvious that someone with more seniority will get more. We acted according to regular criteria, so that everyone gets what he is entitled to," a kibbutz source said today. "It's not easy here, especially with the security situation. There are quite a few electrical disruptions, and orders from the IDF resulting from evaluations of the security situation in the area sometimes make it impossible to work all of the crops. Furthermore, they recently cut our water quotas. Nevertheless, we're very, very proud of what we're doing here, but on the other hand, we're not boasting."
A source in the kibbutz industries said, "Beeri is one of the wealthiest kibbutzim in Israel, among other things because of its good and productive assets, mainly in the industrial sector. There's no doubt that the kibbutz's activities are at the top of business activity in the kibbutz environment. In contrast to other kibbutzim that distributed profits to their members after making large-scale exits, such as Kibbutz Hatzerim, which sold control of Netafim to a Mexican company, there was no exit here. These were nothing but profits, because all of the business activity is staying on the kibbutz, and now the members, who are the owners of those activities, are reaping the benefits."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 17, 2018
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