WASHINGTON (Oct. 9)
The first major infusion of international Jewish capital into an Israel government-owned enterprise took place here yesterday with the announcement that negotiations have been concluded for the purchase of 50 percent of the shares of the Zim Israel Navigation Co. by the Israel Corporation. Ltd. The announcement was made by Dr. Astorre Mayer, chairman, following a board meeting attended by Israel’s Minister of Finance, Trade and Industry. Zeev Sharef.
The Israel Corp. Ltd. was formed in Jerusalem on Aug. 29, 1968. It was an outgrowth of the international economic conference for Israel convened by the late Prime Minister Levi Eshkol the preceding June, which was attended by several hundred leading Jewish businessmen and financiers from all over the world. It was announced yesterday that the board of directors authorized the corporation’s managing director, Michael Tzur, to proceed with negotiations for the acquisition of stock in the Haifa Refineries Ltd. and Haifa Chemical Ltd.
The purchase of the Zim stock will increase the company’s share capital from $20 million to $35 million. Mr.Tzur said that 172 units totalling $17.2 million have already been sold. The offering has been approved by the Security and Exchange Commission.
The Zim Lines, founded in 1945 by the Jewish Agency and the Histadrut, became a government-owned corporation during the 1960s. It presently operates a fleet of more than 140 ocean-going vessels of which it owns 78 and charters the rest from foreign flags. The company was in serious financial difficulties several years ago but these have been alleviated by the disposal of its money-losing passenger liners, according to a company spokesman. The Zim Lines transports about half of Israel’s maritime freight and has a $200 million development plan ear-marked for the next five years.
The Israel Corp. elected four new directors yesterday. They are F. Weill, of Loeb, Roades & Co.; Dr. T. Rosenbaum, of the International Credit Bank, Geneva; Joseph Mazer, of the Hudson Paper Mills and J. Venzky, of the Israel Investors Corp.