First Israel Mezzanine Investors Fund (FIMI) and El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. signed an agreement, under which FIMI will invest up to US$75 million for a 47% stake in the airline, and form a control group in it with Knafaim Holdings Ltd. which owns 39% of the airline. Knafaim has an option to sell FIMI 30 million shares in El Al worth US$5 million.
In the first stage, at the time the deal is closed, FIMI will invest up to US$50 million for a 38% holding in El Al. The fund will receive two options worth US$12.5 million each and if both are exercised FIMI will hold 47%.
The deal is expected to close by July 31 but FIMI can extend this deadline by a total of 90 days.
FIMI's commitment to the deal will be subject to several conditions, including approval by El Al's general shareholders meeting, obtaining regulatory permits, and El Al signing a new collective agreement with its employees on terms that FIMI deems satisfactory, at its sole discretion.
FIMI founder and Chief Executive Ishay Davidi said in a statement "Completion of the deal is a complicated task and requires cooperation among ... management, workers and financial institutions".
He said the company and its workers are negotiating a new collective labor agreement that will enable the airline to deal with the competitive environment in which it operates. The deal is subject to the signing of a new labor agreement that is acceptable to FIMI.
"The challenges facing the company require many changes. Without generating this change the company will find it very difficult to compete," Davidi added.