David Azrieli donates 5.7 pct of Azrieli Group to foundation

TEL AVIV, March 16 Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:08am EDT

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TEL AVIV, March 16 (Reuters) - Azrieli Group Chairman David Azrieli is donating 5.7 percent of the real estate development firm, a stake worth about 800 million shekels ($231.06 million), to the Azrieli Foundation.

This is part of Azrieli's commitment to transfer most of his shares in Azrieli Group to charity, the company said on Sunday, adding that this was one of the largest philanthropic donations ever in Israel.

The Canadian businessman, who holds 74.8 million shares or 61.7 percent of Azrieli Group, is transferring 6.9 million shares, which closed at 116.7 shekels each in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

The Israeli market was closed on Sunday for the Jewish holiday of Purim.

"I am a big believer in industry being tied to philanthropy and to create a platform in which foundations will benefit for years from assets that will generate capital for their activities," Azrieli, who was born in Poland in 1922, said in a statement.

The Azrieli Foundation is a Canadian-Israeli philanthropic organisation established by Azrieli to support initiatives that promote education and excellence in various fields, particularly in Israel.

In the past 12 months the Azrieli family donated 50 million shekels to a number of institutions in Israel, including several universities.

Azrieli Group has numerous investments in Israel, including several shopping malls. It also owns Granite HaCarmel, which holds the Tambour paint company and Sonol, a distributor of refined petroleum products. ($1 = 3.4623 Israeli Shekels) (Reporting by Tova Cohen)

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