January 20, 2014 / 8:02 AM / 4 years ago

Africa Israel to repurchase up to 400 mln shekels in bonds

TEL AVIV, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Israeli real estate developer Africa Israel Investments said on Monday its board approved buying back up to 400 million shekels ($114 million) of its bonds.

From 2011 to 2013 the company sold off assets worth 1.245 billion shekels and has accumulated cash, Africa Israel said in a statement. Buying back the bonds will result in significant savings on financing expenses, it said.

“Although implementing the (bond) plan will reduce cash reserves, the company estimates it will not hurt its ability to continue to operate as it currently does or its ability to meet its obligations,” the statement said.

Africa Israel said this was a continuation of a 1 billion shekel bond buy-back programme from December 2011 and another one worth 700 million shekels from January 2013.

Africa Israel also has interests in energy, hotels and infrastructure.

The company, controlled by billionaire diamond dealer Lev Leviev, was hit hard by the real estate meltdown in the United States, Russia and eastern Europe. It defaulted on a series of bonds and in 2010 restructured some $2 billion of its debt

$1 = 3.495 shekels Reporting by Tova Cohen

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