El Al is trying to prevent the airline’s transfer of control to Eli Rozenberg, who acquired 42.89% of El Al with a $150 million offering at the company’s public offering last week, Globes reported.
El Al is claiming that Eli Rozenberg is a “straw man” acting on behalf of his father, New York-based businessman Kenny Rozenberg, who is not an Israeli citizen. “We will ask you to consider the request for a permit to control El Al,” a lawyer representing El Al’s board of directors wrote in a letter to Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Transportation Minister Miri Regev, and Cyber and National Digital Matters Minister David Amsalem.
Rozenberg has not yet gained official control of El Al as the approval of three government ministers is first required to be transferred to Israel’s Government Companies Authority, as outlined in the Finance Ministry’s bailout plan.
Tami Mozes-Borovitz, the current controlling shareholder of El Al through her family company Knafaim Holdings Ltd., is behind the attempt to prevent the transfer of the beleaguered airline to Rozenberg.
El Al’s new owner Eli Rozenberg “remains shrouded in mystery,” according to Globes. He has not granted any interviews to the media and has reportedly not even met some of the advisors he hired for his newly formed company Kanfei Nesharim Aviation.
“According to the law and El Al’s regulations, control of El Al must always be in the hands of a citizen and resident of Israel,” the letter from El Al to the government ministers states.
“According to the information obtained by El Al, Kanfei Nesharim is a company controlled by American businessman Kenny Rozenberg, who is not a citizen or resident of Israel. In order to circumvent the legislative restrictions, the shares of Kanfei Nesharim are registered in the name of his son, Mr. Eli Rozenberg, a young man of 26 who lacks independent means and business experience, to create the false appearance as if the controlling shareholder is a resident of Israel – so to speak.”
El Al (or more specifically Tami Mozes-Borovitz) clearly would have preferred if the Finance Ministry had allowed for a private placement, which would have enabled the more “friendly” bids of businessmen Meir Gurvitz and David Sapir.
In the letter, El Al requested an urgent meeting with government ministers.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)