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Israel Discount Bank has launched efforts to issue wholly-owned subsidiary Israel Discount Bank of New York on Nasdaq, TheMarker has learned. The efforts are mostly by the bank's head of finance and Senior Executive VP Amnon Goldschmidt, and by Eitan Etzioni of the asset management division.

Leader DS analyst Yuval Ben Zeev, values Discount Bank New York at a minimum of $400 million, a x1 multiple over shareholders equity. Yet, Ben Zeev raised doubts about the ability of any company to raise money on the Nasdaq, let alone an Israeli bank.

Top Israel Discount Bank executives have already asked several underwriters, but so far have not selected one to lead the issue when it is indeed carried out.

Compared with the bank in Israel, Discount Bank New York is in slightly better shape, having given little in the way of loans to hi-tech companies, and having only 20% of its credit portfolio in real estate. The New York bank minimum capital ratio at the end of September 2001 was 14.1%, better than that of the Israeli bank at 9.1%.

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The issue will yield capital gains for Israel Discount Bank, which was been forced to sell 5% of its shares for very low prices to meet its capital ratio requirements.

The New York bank closed the first nine months of 2001 with a net profit of NIS 52 million, up 26.6% from the same period in 2000. Its return on capital rose to 16.5% from 14.3% in the same time in 2000.

Discount Bank's spokesperson refused to comment on the report.