Epsilon Investment in advanced talks to take over Ytong, TheMarker.com learns

Poalim Investments is in early stages of negotiating a buyout of Ytong, spokesman says
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Tel Aviv-based Epsilon Investment House is in advanced talks to take over the Ytong building materials maker from the Azorim group, TheMarker.com has learned.

Azorim is controlled by the IDB group. Ytong, Azorim and IBD are all listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Epsilon plans to carry out the acquisition together with a group of private investors through its recently-established subsidiary devoted to leveraged buy-outs. One of the investors is Murray Goldman, former owner of a beer manufacturing facility that he sold to Tempo Beer Industries. Goldman is also thought to be the biggest foreign investor in the Clal group.

The Epsilon-led group plans to take over Ytong at a company value of between NIS 320 million to NIS 330 million, slightly above its book value.

Azorim owns 78% of Ytong's equity, which should bring it about NIS 260 million.

Ma'ariv today reported that Poalim Investments, a member of the Shrem Fudim Kelner group, is negotiating to acquire control over Ytong. A spokesman for Poalim Investments said the talks are at a very early stage.

Meanwhile, it looks like Epsilon will complete the buyout in about a month.

Ytong's assets include cash reserves of about NIS 100 million, control over Alony Marble, and several properties, including a 50% stake in a shopping mall in Carmiel. The company is well-known for its production of insulating building blocks.

Ytong ended the first half of 2001 with revenues of NIS 220 million and a net profit of NIS 4.5 million, compared with a net profit of NIS 5 million in the parallel quarter of 2000.

Epsilon is run by Shmuel Frenkel and Ron Levkovitz.