Jerusalem, 23 January 1997


(Communicated by GPO Economics Desk)

Thirteen companies partially or fully-owned by the Israel Government are scheduled to undergo privatization during 1997, according to a plan formulated by the government during a presentation of its multi-year privatization plan.

The thirteen companies scheduled for privatization this coming year, some of which are already in the process of being privatized, include larger companies such as Bezeq, Israel Chemicals and Zim Israel Navigation Company; and mid-sized and smaller enterprises such as Israel National Oil Company, Yozma Venture Capital Fund, Afridar (Ashkelon real estate developer), the Lod and Ramle District Development Company, Israel Foreign Trade Risks Insurance Corp., Israel School for Tourism, Tourist Industry Development Corp., Eilat Foreshore Development Corp., Arad and Dead Sea Development Company, and Karta Central Jerusalem Development Company.

The plan also includes two other groups of companies the government wishes to sell. The first group includes companies which need to undergo more internal and/or legislative reform before they are ready for privatization. This group includes El Al Israel Airlines, Industrial Development Bank of Israel, Tadmor Hotel School, Israel Bank of Agriculture, Israel Wine Institute, Marine Trust Ltd., Otzar Hashilton Hamekomi, and 12 advanced training funds in which the government has stakes. The third group of companies mentioned in the report are concerns which the government must decide whether or not to privatize.

According to the Prime Minister’s economic adviser, Senior Deputy Director- General of the Prime Minister’s Office Moshe Leon, and the director of the Government Companies Authority, Tzippi Livne, the purpose of the privatization effort is to reduce the government’s intervention in the economic sector. Both Leon and Livne commented that the government prefers to sell the firms sooner rather than for more money at a later time.

The plan, which does not specify the methods to be used for privatization, will be presented to the Ministerial Committee on Privatization.