JERUSALEM Feb 12 Argentinian businessman
Eduardo Elsztain bought a 10 percent stake in Ganden
Investments, the parent company of debt-strapped Israeli
conglomerate IDB Holding Corp.
Terms were not disclosed but in September, Elsztain signed
an agreement to invest $25 million in Ganden for a 10 percent
stake. He also received an option to invest another $75 million
to raise his holdings to about 31 percent of Ganden.
The deal comes as IDB and its units have been selling off
assets to raise much-needed cash to reduce its hefty debt.
Elsztain said on Tuesday the investment in Ganden - the
private company through which IDB Chairman Nochi Dankner
controls IDB - comes despite challenges facing IDB, including a
bitter debt settlement process.
"We are convinced that through negotiations between IDB
Holding, its shareholders and debt holders, a fair solution can
be found that serves the best interests of the company and its
creditors and enables IDB's management to stabilise the company
and return it to a path of growth and profitability," Elsztain
said in a statement.
The IDB group, which has assets of $30 billion, controls
Cellcom, Israel's leading mobile phone operator,
supermarket chain Super-Sol and Clal Insurance
. Its subsidiary Koor Industries owns a 2.4
percent stake in Credit Suisse.
Separately, Discount Investment Corp, a unit of
IDB, said on Tuesday it sold a 1.7 percent stake in Cellcom for
46 million shekels ($12 million) to trim its holdings to 41.9
percent. It also sold 2.8 percent in Koor for 65 million shekels
and 2.6 percent of real estate developer Property & Building
for 30 million shekels.
Elsztain is chairman and chief executive officer of IRSA
, Argentina's biggest real estate company. He also
serves as chairman of Cresud , a major
agriculture producer with 35 farms and 1 million hectares under
management in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.
Elsztain said he was working to expand his investment in
Ganden and IDB and will visit Israel next week to advance the
($1 = 3.70 shekels)
(Reporting by Steven Scheer)