Investment house

Nessuah Zannex

believes that

Bank Leumi

and the

First International Bank of Israel

intend to distribute dividends in the coming months.

Analyst Ehud Nir says the two banks will probably make the announcement just before their annual reports for 2000 are published. Nir expects Bank Leumi to distribute dividends of NIS 800 million, which comes to NIS 0.56 per share. He also predicts FIBI will announce dividends of NIS 42 million, or NIS 0.09 per share.

But it looks as though

Bank Hapoalim

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shareholders won't be as lucky. Nir says if there are any dividends coming from the bank at all, it will only be in the second half of 2001


Mizrahi Bank


Israel Discount Bank

will not announce dividends in 2001.

Nir says that Bank Leumi's tier-one capital adequacy ratio is not the highest in the market and comes to 7.67%, which is why the bank cannot allow itself to distribute some 50% of its 2000 earnings via dividends. The bank's earnings in 2000 reached NIS 1.6 billion.

Nessuah Zannex looks favorably on Bank Leumi's expected dividends and believes it will optimize the bank's equity. Nir gives Leumi a Buy rating and a price target of NIS 11.1, which is 12% above its current share price.

Nessuah Zannex believes that Bank Hapoalim will not announce additional dividends toward the release of its financial results for 2000. That's because the bank's aggregate capital adequacy ratio comes to just 9.05%.

The analyst believes that in the second half of 2001 Bank Hapoalim will improve its capital adequacy ratio and distribute additional dividends.

Nir has reiterated his Buy recommendation for Bank Hapoalim and set a price target of NIS 14.8, which is 37% higher than the current stock price.