JERUSALEM, Sept 4 The cash-strapped Israel
Electric Corp (IEC) raised 1.5 billion shekels ($373
million) in government-backed bonds to help it meet higher fuel
costs, the utility said on Tuesday.
IEC, Israel's state-owned electricity monopoly, said it
expanded two bond series as part of a government aid package to
tackle the cash crisis in part stemming from a shortage of
natural gas and the need to purchase more expensive fuels.
"The capital raised enables the company to continue meeting
its commitments and is a vote of confidence by the Israeli
government," said IEC chairman Yiftah Ron-Tal.
IEC has accrued more than $16 billion in debt and is being
kept alive by repeated government-guaranteed bond offerings,
which have totalled 5.9 billion shekels ($1.47 billion) in 2012.
IEC is expected to get a boost in mid-2013 when Israel's
large Tamar offshore gas field is due to begin production.
($1 = 4.02 shekels)
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch)