Outgoing government approved the sale of Haifa Port Company for for NIS 3.9 billion


by Ifi Reporter Category:Financial Dec 28, 2022

Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Transport Minister Marev Michaeli approved the sale of the state's shares in the Haifa Port Company for a period of 32 years, to a group consisting of the Indian company Gadot Mosofif Chemicals and Adani, for NIS 3.9 billion.

"I am happy that among my last steps in the Ministry of Finance, I signed and promoted another step towards the privatization of the port of Haifa. For the past year and a half, I have led a policy of a freer and more competitive economy. The privatization of the port is great news for the citizens of Israel that will increase competition in the ports and thereby also lead to a lower cost of living." Lieberman said.
Michaeli added: "As you know, I am not a big supporter of privatization, and the process of privatizing the port of Haifa began before I took office, however, I made sure that it would be done in the cleanest and most responsible way for the benefit of the economy and the entire Israeli economy."
In the basic guidelines of the incoming government, the coalition companies expressed their desire to bring about the sale of the state's shares in the Ashdod Port Company, in a format similar to that of the Haifa Port.
The buyer of Haifa Port is expected to encounter many difficulties in her efforts to put it on a path of success. Since June, the private Gulf port, operated by the Chinese SIPG at the expense of the Haifa port, has seen a dizzying growth, and it is almost comparable to it in terms of its activity. In October, the number of containers unloaded at the Gulf port reached 47,000, compared to 64,000 at the Haifa port. The private southern port is also gaining momentum, and in the third quarter of 2022, 60 thousand containers were unloaded there.
Buyers of the Port of Haifa have high hopes for the expected real estate transactions, in their opinion, in the area of the port. The company states that the area of the port is 330 dunams with approved plans in the IBA for warehouses, two hotels, a shopping mall, office buildings and restaurants. However, the land in the port does not belong to the buyers, and they will have to return it to the state in 32 years.
The destination of the Haifa Port lands is also currently unclear. Railroad tracks pass through the port area, and this issue is in dispute between the state and the Haifa municipality. The Ministry of Finance wants to electrify the tracks, and the municipality demands that they be transported through tunnels.
In addition, the fate of the Dagon nuclear silo has not yet been decided. The Adani-Gadot group is interested in designating the area where the silo operates for tourism and commerce. However, the government company in charge of the area (Ports of Israel) only recently published a new tender for the operation of the silo for a period of six years with the possibility of a four-year extension, so it is not clear when the buyers of the Port of Haifa will be able to realize their real estate plans for this area.

Eshel Armoni, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Haifa Port Company, said following the approval of the sale transaction: "When we set out, we aimed to transfer the company to an international buyer with experience in operating ports, as it is prepared for the expected competition in the seaports in Israel. We met the task in full and at a price that reflects extraordinary confidence in the port's capabilities. I would like to thank my fellow board members and all those involved in the craft, and wish the Adni-Gadot group success in leading the port for decades to come."
Mandy Salzman, CEO of Haifa Port Company, said: "Haifa Port was and will remain a central gateway to Israel for cargo ships and cruise ships. The port's customers have enjoyed excellent service at the Port of Haifa over the years and I am convinced that the port's commitment to success and excellent service will continue even now under the new owners, who will put another good wind in the sails of the Haifa Port Company and lead it to new heights."
The Adani-Gadot Group stated: "At the end of a professional and in-depth procedure, we have completed receiving all the approvals required to complete the Haifa port purchase transaction, this in a short schedule like no other similar tender in Israel. We look forward to our entry into the port and the start of its development."



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