JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Bank Hapoalim (POLI.TA) said on Thursday it had submitted an initial prospectus with Israel’s securities regulator for a possible initial public offering of its Isracard credit card unit that also includes other sale options.
The move follows new Israeli regulation meant to increase competition in the sector by prohibiting the country’s top two banks from owning credit card companies.
Hapoalim, Israel’s largest lender, reiterated that it was preparing three possible options for Isracard, the country’s largest credit card firm: selling shares of Isracard to the public, selling it to an investor, or distributing Isracard shares as a dividend to Hapoalim shareholders.
“At this time, there is no certainty as to which alternative the bank will choose (and) whether an IPO will take place,” Hapoalim said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, adding no terms have been determined.
Last year, the bank hired Citi (C.N) to lead the sale of Isracard.
Hapoalim’s rival Bank Leumi (LUMI.TA) is Israel’s second largest lender. The banks have three years to divest their subsidiaries.
Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Maayan Lubell and Elaine Hardcastle