JERUSALEM, June 9 Israel's parliamentary finance
committee gave approval on Monday for the government to sell its
remaining 6.03 percent stake in Leumi, Israel's
largest bank, worth about 1.2 billion shekels ($346.78 million).
The sale will happen over the next 12 months in a few
stages, with half a percent to be sold to bank employees and the
rest to the public, said Accountant General Michal
The government bought up nearly all the shares of the
country's banks after a crisis in banking shares in 1983.
The country's other top banks -- Hapoalim, Israel
Discount Bank and Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank --
have all been fully privatised.
The state last sold some of its shares in Leumi - a 5
percent stake - in 2011.
Income from the upcoming sale will help reduce Israel's
debt-to-GDP ratio, the parliamentary committee said in a
Answering lawmakers questions whether the government,
without holding a share, will be able to monitor the bank and
influence its operations if needed, Abadi-Boiangiu said: "The
state has many ways to deal with the banking system without
holding shares in the banks."
The state will gradually sell its stake after trading hours
to the highest bidder who can then sell to the public, the
($1 = 3.4604 Israeli Shekels)
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Tova Cohen)