Newsletter – 2018-10-10

10 October 2018

Hi everyone,

Much to my delight - MORE PHOENIX-RELATED DRAMA. Get your popcorn and favorite beverage - this is going on for another season with plot twists you wouldn’t expect!

Ready? Here is this week’s episode (based on recent Calcalist and Globes articles. Disclaimer: all information written below on this subject is based on published news. The published information was not verified by me to be true and factual).

Moshe Bareket. Does that name ring a bell? Here are two possible reasons: 1) He is formerly chairman of Phoenix Holdings and Phoenix Insurance, and 2) he was just appointed Supervisor of the Capital Markets, Insurance, and Savings Authority, replacing Dorit Salinger. Oh and at some point he was also a director in Delek Group Ltd. and Delek Energy Systems Ltd., among others.

Recall that for some time now Delek has been trying to find a buyer for the majority shares of Phoenix. Most (if not all) of those potential buyers either were Chinese or had some sort of winding road to what might or might not have been Chinese ownership. Ms Salinger has systematically refused each of these potential Phoenix suitors (the ones who lasted the entire review period anyway), reportedly not because of their nationality or links to any certain nationality, but because she couldn’t pinpoint ultimate ownership of these companies and thus couldn’t be reasonably assured that their ultimate owners were or were not intertwined with Chinese government officials. (It is possible Ms Salinger has never visited lohtsman.com, but I digress).

Back in 2015/2016 Fosun was a potential Delek/Phoenix suitor. Fosun was not the recipient of one of Ms Salinger’s refusals; that deal fell through all by itself. Separately (or not?), in 2015 Dr Bareket was quoted at a conference arguing against recently imposed limits on the salaries of bank chairpersons and senior management. Reportedly, a week later it was known that Fosun had chosen Dr Bareket to be Chairman of Phoenix if Fosun was granted permission to acquire majority shareholding.

Now, what I gather from these pieces of information is that Dr Bareket 1) has deep experience in the insurance field, 2) has been on “the other side” as a chairperson nonetheless in that industry, and 3) at one point had seemingly pretty solid professional connections with at least one major Chinese conglomerate.

In my opinion we’ve got a different kind of driver in the Authority’s driver’s seat, so this should be interesting. Buckle your seatbelts and hold onto that popcorn.

In the news: Jack’s coming back! VP Wang Qishan will be there too! A former Chief Scientist gets honorary Chinese citizenship; CEIIF who we haven't seen in a while is back in a funding round; and Netafim-linked China-Israel Modern Agricultural Industrial Park Project settled in Yantai’s Laishan District.

Enjoy the newsletter, and as always give me a shout with thoughts and questions, or just to say hello.

- Laura


China-Israel Business News Digest

Headlines here; go ahead to the website for summaries and original articles.

  • Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan ‘to attend innovation summit in Israel’.
  • Jack Ma to visit Israel again this month.
  • Dr Moshe Bareket is the new head of the Israeli capital market.
  • Customer management software firm Glassbox raises $25 million.
  • Former Israeli Chief Scientist will receive honorary citizenship in China.
  • China-Israel Modern Agricultural Industrial Park Project settled in Yantai’s Laishan District.

Access all summaries and original articles on the website.


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