Israel's Rami Levi to buy 20 percent of Cofix coffee chain

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israel's Rami Levi Chain Stores RMLI.TA has agreed to buy 20 percent of coffee and snack chain Cofix Group CFX.TA at a company valuation of 105 million shekels ($30 million).

Rami Levi, one of Israel’s leading supermarket chains, also received a two-year option to increase its stake to 50.01 percent, Cofix said in a statement on Monday.

Founded in 2013 by businessman Avi Katz and modeled on dollar stores in the United States, Cofix sells coffee and snacks such as sandwiches for 5 shekels ($1.40) each. Until Cofix came along, Israeli cafes routinely charged $3-$4 for a coffee.

Katz expanded into the supermarket business with Super Cofix, a chain of discount mini-markets.

Rami Levi’s supermarkets are largely located on the outskirts of urban centers and the Cofix deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, will give it a foothold in city centers.

The much larger Rami Levi will seek to improve Super-Cofix’s profitability and trade and credit terms with suppliers so that Super-Cofix will enjoy the same terms as Rami Levi.

Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer