What is the story with the firm Africa-Israel? Despite grim financial reports pointing to huge losses of $1.2 billion, the company — controlled by billionaire Lev Leviev — has witnessed a sharp rise in its share price. The share has reportedly risen over 140 per cent since the beginning of 2009, and the company’s market cap has broken through the NIS 4 billion threshold. The trading volume in Africa-Israel’s share has also been high lately.
The hike is likely to have been caused in part by the sale of some the firm’s best assets — including the Ramat Aviv mall in northern Tel Aviv and the Savionim mall, as well as properties in New York — at good prices, generating a significant cash flow. But it will be interesting to see whether Leviev will be forced to sell the company’s more problematic assets and, if so, at what price.
But for now, investors in Africa-Israel continue to be attracted by the high short-term returns triggered by the sell-off.