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Israeli holding company the


Group announced on Monday that its subsidiary, Delek the Israel Fuel Corporation, has agreed to purchase the rights to 198 gas stations and convenience stores for $147 million from the U.S. chain Mapco Express. The Delek subsidiary is Israel's second largest fuel firm, the Mapco stations are mainly located in the U.S. state of Tenessee.

In a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Delek said it would pay an additional but unspecified amount for the chain's inventory, 20 days after the deal has been signed.

A sum of $25 million has been placed in trust by Delek, to be transferred to the U.S. chain once the deal has been closed. The balance will also be paid on the closing date, which has been set for May 30, 2001.

Delek also said its plans to sign an agreement to purchase 36 gasoline stations and convenience stores for $36.5 million from another company in the coming days. The Israeli firm plans to finance most of its deals through bank loans.

Meanwhile, Delek's shares lost 3.1% in Monday's trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.