June 28, 2012 / 11:11 AM / 7 years ago

Africa-Israel Investments CEO Cohen to step down

JERUSALEM, June 28 (Reuters) - Israeli real estate developer Africa Israel Investments said on Thursday chief executive Izzy Cohen was to step down after four years in the job.

Africa Israel, controlled by billionaire diamond dealer Lev Leviev, did not give a reason for Cohen’s resignation, adding it “did not involve circumstances that must be made known to the company’s shareholders”.

Leviev has nominated Avraham Novogrocki, CEO of subsidiary Africa-Israel Industries Ltd, as the new CEO of the company, the company said.

Under Cohen’s tenure, Africa Israel was hit hard by the real estate meltdown in the United States, Russia and eastern Europe. The company ultimately defaulted on a series of bonds in 2010, forcing it to restructure about $2 billion debt.

Net outstanding debt in the first quarter fell to 3.4 billion shekels ($905 million), from 3.9 billion at the end of 2011, largely due to buying back some of its bonds.

Africa Israel shares were down 2.8 percent at midday.

Africa Israel owns 71 percent of AFI Development, a Russia-focused real estate company. ($1 = 3.7588 shekels) (Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Steven Scheer and Dan Lalor)

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