Holding company Clal Industries and Investments (TASE: CII ), controlled by Idb Development Corporation (TASE: IDBD ), reports its return to profitability this morning with net profits of NIS 2 million, in sharp contrast tot eh NIS 225 million loss posted in Q1 2001. The transition to black ink stems in part from decreased provisions for NIS 36 million in guarantees Clal made for long distance carrier Barak International Communications.

The company invested NIS 16 million during the quarter in picking more of ECI Telecom (Nasdaq: ECIL) and NIS 7 million in picking up more of Fundtech (Nasdaq: FNDT). In addition, the company invested NIS 36 million in technology, electronics, biotechnology and venture capital companies.

Revenue from sales and services amounted to NIS 617 million, down 24% from the parallel quarter. Nonetheless, while during that reporting period consolidated companies contributed NIS 187 million to parent Clal's losses, in Q1 2002 they added NIS 15 million in profits. Clal's deteriorated results stemmed primarily from the slowdown in retail activity.

One positive statistic that stands out in the financials in the material drop in financing expenses which amounted to about NIS 1 million, down 97% from NIS 38 million in Q1 2001.

Cement maker Nesher, in which Clal holds a 75% stake via Mashav, posted NIS 10 million profits ¿ net of a similar sum in a one-time restructuring charge ¿ down 57% from Q1 2001.

Another holding whose contribution to the bottom line shrunk was wholly-owned Kitan, turning in NIS 2 million in profits after NIS 10 million in last year's first quarter.