said today that a company in which it has a 50% stake has bought Canada's Cristina Group for $28 million, together with Canadian textile and fashion manufacturers. Africa Israel is controlled by its chairman, businessman Lev Levayev, who holds approximately 49% of the company's share capital and approximately 53% of its voting rights. AFrica Israel also owns 80% of the Israeli swimsuit company Gottex Models.
Cristina, which was established 50 years ago and operates out of Montreal, Canada, manufactures swimsuits and clothing, which it markets mainly to North America. The company's annual sales come to $52 million, and the firm is considered the fifth largest of its kind in Canada.
Financing for the Cristina purchase came largely from banks, but Africa Israel also invested $14 million Canadian dollars of its own money.
Africa Israel also guaranteed to put up another $9 million Canadian dollars if by October 2002 another bank cannot be found to complete financing for the deal.
The joint subsidiary, which Africa Israel did not name, has also given its new owners a put option to sell its 80% stake in Israel's Gottex swimwear label for $6m. The offer stands for a period of 12 months.
Africa Israel CEO Pinhas Cohen said "The establishment of a joint subsidiary and our purchase of Cristina are part of our group's strategic activities in which we aim to expand our industrial investments and holdings," he declared.
Until now Africa Israel's fashion activities have been profitable. The company took over Gottex in 1997, and during the year 1999-2000 Gottex turned a profit of NIS 20.4 million. Gottex's net profit during the first quarter of 2001 reached NIS 10.3 million.