JERUSALEM May 29 Israeli conglomerate Delek
Group swung to a loss in the first quarter, due to
write-downs to the value of various holdings the company intends
to sell as it refocuses its business on gas exploration.
Delek, which currently encompasses energy, insurance and
biochemicals, said on Thursday it lost 195 million shekels
($56.2 million) in the quarter, compared with net profit of 53
million shekels a year earlier. A loss at its European fuel
operations also hurt its bottom line.
Excluding impairments, Delek posted net income in the first
three months of 2014 of 111 million shekels. Revenue fell to 8.9
billion shekels from 9.1 billion.
Delek plans to reduce its stake in Delek US Holdings
to 9.8 percent and sell its holdings in Republic
Insurance and in Phoenix Holdings.
The company, through its subsidiaries, has major shares in a
number of newly discovered gas fields off Israel's coast.
The Tamar field, which Delek developed together with
Texas-based Noble Energy, has estimated reserves of 10
trillion cubic feet (tcf) and began production last year. Net
profit from gas production, which totalled 1.7 billion cubic
meters, was 38 million shekels in the first three months of the
year, compared with a 5 million shekel loss a year ago.
"Our strategic vision of ... of focusing our efforts on oil
and gas exploration and production is clear and now has become
even more substantially visible," said Asaf Bartfeld, Delek's
Tamar has signed deals worth tens of billions of dollars to
supply the local market with gas. It also inked deals with
Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.
Nearby Tamar is Leviathan, with an estimated 19 tcf of
reserves and set to come online in 2016 and 2017. Some 40
percent of offshore reserves are allocated for export.
($1 = 3.4724 Israeli Shekels)
(Reporting by Steven Scheer)