Delek Group gets another $100 million dividend from Ithaca unit

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's Delek Group DLEKG.TA said on Tuesday that it received a $100 million dividend from its wholly owned Ithaca Energy unit that will be used to pay down a loan from BNP Paribas.

Delek Group, one of Israel’s largest conglomerates, has been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak and drop in global oil prices. It has been selling assets to raise funds to pay its lenders and bondholders.

Ithaca, a British North Sea oil and gas producer, in late 2019 bought Chevron's CVX.N North Sea oil and gas fields for $2 billion.

Delek received an initial dividend of $20 million from Ithaca in May. Tuesday’s dividend brings the total payout for 2020 to $120 million, well above the $50 million that Delek had initially estimated it would receive from Ithaca this year.

Chief executive Idan Wallace said the dividend joins a series of actions successfully carried out Delek Group in recent months, including divestments of 3.5 billion shekels ($1 billion), and early repayments to banks and bondholders totalling more than 2 billion shekels.

“All these contribute to reinforcing the liquidity and financial strength of the group and let us continue to work towards a successful exit from the markets crisis,” he said.

Delek noted that the $100 million dividend was approved by a consortium of 15 banks that had loaned Delek $1.1 billion.

Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Rami Ayyub