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March 26, 1997updated 04 Sep 2016 12:46am


By CBR Staff Writer

Reporting net profit for 1996 up 5.2% at the equivalent of $195.5m on revenue up 4.7% at $2.46bn, Bezeq Israel Telecom Ltd, Israel’s main telecommunications carrier where Cable & Wireless Plc has about 10%, sadu a major part of its growth last year was due to its Pelephone cellular telephone subsidiary, which it jointly controls with Motorola Israel Ltd. A big increase in the overall number of phone lines also helped revenue growth by increasing monthly fees and end-user equipment sales, to offset a decline in tariffs. Bezeq installed 415,000 new lines, an 18% increase from 1995, for a total of 2.55 million lines, an 8.7% increase. Digitalization of the network was completed last year. The government, which still has about 76%, said it is weighing a plan to sell shares in separate domestic and overseas tranches. The plan would be to sell about 10% of the equity on the Israeli capital market and another block of 10% to 15% to foreign investors. Sources told Reuter the plan was aimed at floating the maximum possible number of shares at a time when the Israeli market is seen as too weak to absorb an offering as big as 25% of Bezeq. Sources said Bezeq still preferred to proceed with a global offering because they believe it would raise the company’s profile with international investors at a time when it is seeking to borrow money in overseas financial markets. It would also prefer an offering of new shares, whose proceeds would go to the company and enable it to repay debentures that the government holds in it.

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