Oil Report

Babcock & Brown opens Israel office

TEL AVIV, June 19 (Reuters) - Australian investment and advisory firm Babcock & Brown BNB.AX said on Tuesday it was opening an office in Israel to be headed by the former privatisation chief Eyal Gabbai.

Gabbai was director-general of the Government Companies Authority from 2002 until last month.

During the time he was in office, Gabbai was in charge of the privatisation of El Al Israel Airlines ELAL.TA, Bezeq Israel Telecom BEZQ.TA and Israel's two oil refineries.

He was also instrumental in effecting structural changes in the Israeli ports, the Railway Authority, the postal services and the electricity market.

Babcock & Brown said its decision to enter the Israeli market reflects the strong growth in the economy in recent years and the considerable opportunities in Israel in Babcock & Brown’s main business lines.

Phil Green, chief executive of Babcock & Brown, said Gabbai would work to identify opportunities for the firm in its core areas of strength including infrastructure, real estate and private equity style opportunities.

“If the Israeli economy continues its rapid growth and current policies are maintained, we foresee a bright future for Babcock & Brown’s operations in Israel,” Green said.