Israeli energy conglomerate Delek Group announced on Monday that it is buying control of citrus fruit supplier and real estate investor Mehadrin Ltd. in a deal worth NIS 249 million ($68 million).
Delek, which focuses on oil and gas exploration, signed an agreement to acquire the 44.48% controlling stake Discount Investment Corp. owns in publicly traded Mehadrin for NIS 163.44 per share. The deal reflects a premium of almost 30% over the stock’s closing price on Sunday. The company’s shares, which are traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, jumped more than 15% on Monday following the announcement.
Founded in 1951, Mehadrin has four main areas of operations: agriculture, refrigeration houses, water supply, and real estate yielding assets. In 2020, a cash-strapped Delek, controlled by Israeli businessman Yitzhak Tshuva, sold its 18.5% stake in Mehadrin for NIS 74 million.
“We see Mehadrin as a company with significant betterment potential in light of the enormous scope of the land it possesses, which is under long-term lease agreements and ae located in demand areas in Israel,” said Delek CEO Idan Wallis.
“The transaction is done under optimal conditions for the Delek Group as it is financed from its available sources, without taking on debt or increasing leverage, and as such allows the group to take advantage of the business opportunity and benefit from the significant betterment potential that exists in our estimation.”
Mehadrin is one of Israel’s largest grower and exporter of citrus, avocado, dates, and other fruits and vegetables, and owns large amounts of land and plantations across the country. The Be’erot Yitzhak-based company has privately owned and leased real estate assets with an estimated size of about 11,100 dunam (2,742 acres), as well as logistics assets that include refrigerating houses, packaging houses and warehouses, in Israel and abroad. The company possesses about 48 acres of privately owned agricultural land, and about 2,694 acres of agricultural land that it leases.
Mehdrin owns eight packing and refrigerating houses, located in Tzrifin and Netanya, and a refrigeration house in France. The total built area of the packaging and refrigeration facilities owned by the company is about 78,000 square meters on land with an area of about 45 acres.
The global supplier of the Jaffa oranges brand posted sales of about NIS 446 million in the first quarter of 2023, with over 70% of its produce exported globally. Its fresh produce comes in daily from more than 4,000 hectares of agricultural holdings across Israel and other countries, the company said on its website.
Discount Investment said is expects to record a NIS 126 million loss in the second quarter of 2023 on the sale, reflecting the difference between the proceeds and the cost of its investment in Mehadrin.
Completion of the deal is subject to various regulator approvals, including the approval of the competition commissioner and other conditions stipulated in the agreement, Delek said.