Caesarstone Rallies on Report Kibbutz Members May Sell Stake

  • Apax, Bain Capital considering purchase, Calcalist reports
  • Stake in quartz countertop maker valued at $531 million

Caesarstone Sdot-Yam Ltd., the maker of quartz countertops that was founded on a kibbutz, rallied on speculation that private equity firms including Apax Partners LLP and Bain Capital Partners are considering buying the kibbutz members’ 33 percent stake in the company.

The members are seeking about 2 billion shekels ($531 million), which represents about a 40 percent premium on the current market price, Israeli newspaper Calcalist reported, without saying where it got the information. Caesarstone shares jumped 11 percent to close at $37.35 on Tuesday in New York, the biggest gain since February 2014.

Caesarstone’s stock has plummeted 47 percent since the company trimmed its 2015 revenue forecast last August on weaker-than-expected sales growth in the U.S., considered the heart of the company’s plan for expansion. Shortsellers have seized on discord between Chief Executive Officer Yos Shiran and the kibbutz members that sit on the board of the 28-year-old company as a reason to be bearish on the stock.

“It’s a positive signal that these top-tier PE firms are interested, and who knows how much of a premium they’re willing to pay,” Bruce Schoenfeld, research director at New York-based BlueStar Global Investors, said by phone. “This way, they get the kibbutz pretty much out of it, and have the benefit of private equity and management working together on the same page.”

James Palczynski, a spokesman for Caesarstone, didn’t respond to an e-mail and phone call requesting comment on the Calcalist report. Alex Stanton, a spokesman for Bain at Stanton Public Relations and Marketing, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. Todd Fogarty, a spokesman for Apax, declined to comment.

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