The 23% drop in Bezeq stock from August 1 coupled with the shekel's devaluation have increased the exposure of Israeli banks that lent money to businessman Gad Zeevi to up to $100 million, estimate capital market sources.
Five Israeli banks lent Gad Zeevi money to purchase a 19.55% interest in the Bezeq phone company, from British firm Cable & Wireless (LSE:CW).
Zeevi paid C&W $632 million. Of that sum, $150 million came from his own resources. The five banks ¿Hapoalim, Leumi, Discount, Mizrahi and First International ¿ lent him a total of $630 million in two instalments.
Zeevi's collateral was the Bezeq shares, and a letter of credit.
Since buying the Bezeq stock, Zeevi has received NIS 60 million in dividends from the phone company, out of the NIS 300 million in dividends Bezeq handed out last year. Zeevi also sold NIS 51 million worth of his Bezeq shares on July 26 at the behest of the banks, which were worried about the value of his securities.
Most of the credit granted to Zeevi is apparently linked to the dollar. Meaning, the value of the loan principal plus interest is now about $750 million to $800 million. Zeevi's collateral consists of $150 million in equity plus the value of his remaining Bezeq stake, 19.26%, which is worth about $550 million. That sum is somewhere between $50 million to $100 million short of the credit granted by the banks.