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Africa-Israel Gains as Buyback Plan to Cut Costs: Tel Aviv Mover

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. advanced to the highest level in a month after the holding company’s board approved a bond buyback plan that seeks to lower financing costs.

Shares of the Yehud, Israel-based company climbed 4.9 percent to 9.52 shekels, the highest since Dec. 11, at the close in Tel Aviv, taking their advance this week to 13 percent. The stock was the third-biggest gainer by percentage terms on the TA-100 Index of Israeli equities, which climbed 0.9 percent. The benchmark TA-25 index gained 1.1 percent, the second-biggest advance among 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg.

Africa-Israel plans to repurchase as much as 700 million shekels ($186 million) of its series Kaf Vav and Kaf Zayin bonds, according to a filing to the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange. The buyback would significantly lower future financing costs, it said. The company’s U.S. unit sold several New York properties for 64 million shekels in September, while in March Africa-Israel sold a unit for 76.2 million shekels.

“This is a good move for the company because they have hundreds of millions of shekels from recent asset sales that are only earning 1 or 2 percent,” Noam Pincu, a Tel Aviv-based analyst with Psagot Investment House Ltd., said by phone. “The bonds have a yield of almost 7 percent, so they will have a big savings.”

The company’s 6 percent Kaf Vav bonds maturing in 2025 advanced 2.7 percent to 89 shekels and its 6.8 percent Kaf Zayin notes due the same year fell 6.2 percent to 75.5 shekels, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Lakin in Tel Aviv at rlakin1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net

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