Aug 19, 2009
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Africa Israel says Gottex sale delayed by six days

Aug 19, 2009

JERUSALEM, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Israeli conglomerate Africa Israel Investments (AFIL01.TA) said on Wednesday 19 August the completion of a deal to sell its 50 percent stake in the Gottex swimwear firm to its joint venture partners had been delayed.

Gottex swimwear - Photo: www.gottexmodels.com

Africa Israel said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that the deal would now be completed on Aug. 24, six days later than initially agreed, and that the non-refundable cancellation payment had been increased to 28 million shekels.

In addition, the unnamed buyers had paid an additional 7 million shekels in advance, bringing the total advance payment received by Africa Israel to 51 million shekels.

The company said in June it would receive 166 million shekels ($43.5 million) for its stake in Gottex and that its partners had paid 44 million shekels in advance, 24 million of which would not be refunded if the deal was not completed, barring a breach of contract by the seller.

Its shares were down 6 percent at midday in Tel Aviv, trading at 61.9 shekels, compared with a 1.1 percent drop on the broader bourse.

In January, Africa Israel signed a memorandum of understanding to sell its stake in Gottex to two foreign businessmen who currently own the other half. The company gave no further details about the two businessmen.

Africa Israel will post a pretax gain of 92 million shekels from the sale and will also receive an additional payment of $7.5 million depending on the sale of clothing brands Zara and Pull and Bear in Israel over the next four years.

Gottex designs beachwear in Israel and abroad through Gottex Models Ltd and Christina America Inc. It also markets clothing brands Zara, Pull and Bear and Massimo Dutti in Israel under licence from Spain's Inditex SA (ITX.MC).

Africa Israel has said Gottex was not core to the group's activities, which focus on residential, commercial and hotel real estate development, construction, infrastructure and industry in Israel, Russia, former Soviet Union countries, the U.S. and Eastern Europe.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr)

($1 = 3.82 shekels)

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