We Now Know Who’s Looking To Bid For El Al

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It was revealed on Sunday that Eli Rosenberg, an immigrant to Israel from the US, is seeking to buy El Al Airlines. Eli Rosenberg will be representing his father, New York-based businessman Kenny (Naftali) Rosenberg.

Israel El Al
Jewish Eli Rosenberg hopes to acquire Israeli carrier, El Al. Photo: El Al Airlines

According to Globes, Jerusalem-resident Eli is in talks with Knafaim to acquire the fully-grounded carrier. Knaifam is the parent company of El Al.

Currently, the fate of the Israeli carrier is unconfirmed. Wrecked financially even before the pandemic, El Al will either undergo nationalization or seal the deal with an investor who takes control.

Who is Eli Rosenberg’s father?

As mentioned above, yeshiva student Eli is the son of a renowned healthcare entrepreneur. Kenny Rosenberg founded the established Centers HealthCare nursing home chain in 2001. To date, Centers HealthCare has expanded to over 50 facilities across five states, including New York. Additionally, Kenny Rosenberg is a trained Hatzolah paramedic.

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Having Israeli citizenship is one of the conditions needed to obtain a permit to acquire El Al. As such, Israeli citizen Eli is the one entering the business deal with Knafaim. Globes reported that Eli (previously unnamed) had approached the Government Companies Authority on July 8th to begin discussions.

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The Yeshiva World also reveals that two weeks ago, an anonymous source had appointed accountant Reem Aminoach to “explore the possibility of acquiring El Al.”

Accepting government aid

El Al is close to receiving government aid after numerous talks about how the privatized airline can be rescued. The bailout is $400m. Out of this amount, $250m is a loan with a 75% state guarantee. The rest is in the form of shares, which the state plans to sell to the public. However, a likely scenario is if the government ends up with all of the shares – turning the troubled carrier state-owned.

With this $400 million set aside in state-funding, the Finance Ministry has further prepared a set of conditions that must be met before the bailout is granted.

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El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin said to employees,

“It is clear that the state is committed to helping El Al on condition that El Al takes steps to help itself. This means implementing the program presented to the Ministry of Finance precisely and according to the stages set out.”

Israel carrier El Al Airlines
Employees of the Israeli carrier likely to receive pay cuts or face dismissal. Photo: El Al Airlines

The program includes company-wide downsizing, where over 30% of employees will face dismissal. According to Globes, El Al has reached agreements on streamlining measures, in the form of pay cuts and layoffs, with three out of four divisions of its workforce. Administrative employees, cabin and technical staff have signed agreements. The remaining sector is its pilots, which have yet to come to terms with the new measures.

To cut down on finances, the airline has cut its fleet – canceling leases on two Boeing 737-800s due to enter service this year.

One of Eli’s conditions that he buy the airline is also centered on El Al’s ability to meet the requirements of government aid.

El Al remains hesitant

According to a Globes report dated July 12th, Knafaim has rejected the bid. It seems as though negotiations are just starting and it may take some time before the airline decides on an investor, let alone if it will be Eli Rosenberg.

El Al grounded
El Al has grounded all flights, including cargo-only flights due to its outstanding debt to the Israeli Airport Authority. Photo: Getty Images

At the same time, the airline is not flying and has almost all its staff on unpaid leave. This means the clock is ticking for El Al to make reliable deals to save itself and get back on track.

Simple Flying has reached out to El Al for comments but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What do you think about El Al’s bidder? Do you think the deal should go through? Let us know in the comments.

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