Israir Group (TASE: ISRG), controlled by Rami Levy (60%) is on the brink of becoming Israel's biggest airline, in terms of aircraft fleet size. The airline notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) this morning that it has been given an extension in the deadline to complete negotiations for the acquisition of Czech airline Smartwings, and that it must pay a deposit of €500,000 for the extension.
If Israir's acquisition of Smartwings goes ahead then it would have a fleet of 48 planes leapfrogging El Al, which has a fleet of 45 aircraft.
Smartwings is a low-cost airline with over 40 aircraft that fly six million passengers per year. The airline has hubs in Prague, Warsaw, Budapest and Paris. Its fleet includes Boeing 737s and Cessna aircraft.
Israir currently has six aircraft 400 employees and has scheduled 3,850 flights this year. In 2016, Israir had 617 employees and conducted 1,750 flights. Israir flies to Dubai, Georgia, the Czech Republic, Greece and Italy.
At the same time, in a matter unconnected to the acquisition, Clal Insurance (TASE: CLIS) is increasing its stake in Israir. Having previously held a 2% stake in the airline, Clal Insurance is increasing its stake to 7.44% through a private allocation of 11.4 million shares at NIS 1.75 per share, 1.5% below the market price, making it a party at interest in the company. Clal Insurance's stake could rise to 11.3% if exercises an option for another 11.4 million shares at NIS 2 per share.
Israir's share price has doubled since the start of the year after falling 93%.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 27, 2023.
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