Israel’s Wealthiest Woman, Shari Arison, Sells Her Empire at Bargain Prices

After the sale of her holdings in Israel, Arison is expected to remain with a small share in the American pleasure cruise company Carnival Cruise, controlled by her brother Mickey Arison

Shari Arison

Shari Arison, the world’s 374 wealthiest people in 2017 by Forbes and Israel’s wealthiest woman, is liquidating her business in the country.

In the 15 years since she inherited her father’s empire in Israel, Shari Arison failed to raise the value of her assets and marked a disappointment.

After selling two of her companies at a loss: Salt of the Land (Melach Haaretz), which accounts for 80% of all salt sales in Israel, sold for $46.3 million to the Fortissimo Fund. In addition sold her 47% of Housing and Construction (Shikun & Binui) to Neti Sayadoff for $299 million, a $54.5 million discount on the market price.

According to Haaretz, a strategic program for Housing & Construction is already being developed. The company planning to become more active in U.S infrastructure projects, reducing its operation in Africa, selling Israeli assets and reducing headquarter overhead costs.

Shari Arison, 61, yesterday sold water infrastructure company Miya to the European fund Bridgepoint at $260 million, a real price, which reflects Arison’s $100 million profit from its investment. This is another step on the way to Arison’s disengagement from business in Israel.

Miya operates mainly abroad and its customers are water corporations. It is active in the Bahamas, where it has a ten-year contract to improve the local water system, which amounts to $ 83 million. In 2015, the company signed a contract worth $ 42 million to improve the national water system in Jamaica for five years. The Philippines Mia works in conjunction with the local water corporation Maynilad. The company also has a 30% stake in the Portuguese water company Indaqua.

Mickey Arison

The heiress to the Carnival Cruise Line estimated net worth of $5.4 billion, remained in Israel only holding 15.8% of the shares of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s biggest lender. But, the outlook for the sale of her Hapoalim stake looks no promising.

Bank Hapoalim and Housing & Construction are under the shadow of an investigation in the US. In this case, the American authorities accuse Hapoalim (and other Israeli banks) of aiding clients to evade American taxes.

The cost to Hapoalim, in legal costs and future penalties, has already reached $545 million. Analysts told Haaretz the bank may have to spend another $150 million to settle with the U.S. after which the share should begin to recover.

Due to her badly wanted to divest the business, and failing to find a strategic buyer for her shares, in September Arison received approval to sell Hapoalim stakes on the TASE. The meaning is she won’t get the control premium on the sale price.

After the sale of its holdings in Israel, Shari Arison is expected to remain with a maintenance company in the American pleasure cruise company Carnival Cruise, controlled by her brother Mickey Arison. In addition, Arison will continue to hold and finance its philanthropic activities.

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