30 July 12 15:07–In a blow to the Ministry of Finance, Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL), the sole bidder in the Eilat Port Company Ltd. privatization tender, today unexpectedly announced that it was withdrawing from the tender to acquire the port.
In a statement, Israel Chemicals said that it made the decision “after analysis and the learning the lessons from participation in the first tender, and the public response to that, and after concluding that any future participation by the company for the operation of the Eilat Port would have the same result as the first tender.”
Israel Chemicals was the only company that submitted the NIS 15 million guarantee that the government set as a threshold condition for bidding for the Eilat Port. The three other finalists in the tender did not submit the guarantee, on the grounds that the NIS 100 million starting bid set by the government was unrealistic. The three companies were Gadot Chemicals Tankers and Terminals Ltd., owned by Yosef Maiman; Gold Bond Group Ltd. (TASE:GOLD), controlled by Shlomo Shmeltzer; and Papo Maritime Ltd., owned by the Nakash brothers.
Following criticism that Israel Chemicals was the sole participant in the tender, the Ministry of Finance decided to postpone the deadline for submitting guarantees to August 17, in order to try and persuade at least one other company to bid against Israel Chemicals.
Israel Chemicals, the only exporter through Eilat Port, exports through it 2.5 million tons of chemicals a year. For this reason, it was believed that the company would agree to pay a highr price than the other bidders to ensure that the port would fall into “unserious” hands. Israel Chemicals claimed that the government would sell the port for pennies if it cancelled the base price…Read More>>