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      Military Industries’ Privatization Approved

      Part of IMI's operations will handled by a new government company, and the remainder will be privatized.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 11/27/2013, 8:47 PM

      Ofek 7 project, which IMI was part of
      Ofek 7 project, which IMI was part of
      Flash 90

      The Ministerial Committee for Privatization approved on Wednesday the privatization of Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI), and the vacating of its current plant in Ramat Hasharon.

      The company's business operations will be handled by a new company, Taas Maarachot, which will eventually be sold to private investors. The remainder of IMI will be privatized.

      The Ministry of Defense will receive a 300 million shekel budget supplement, after promising to place 550 million shekels in orders per year from Taas Maarachot, over five years, thus guaranteeing IMI employees jobs at the new government company. Over 1,000 employees will be retired.

      The IMI plant in Ramat Hasharon will be vacated and the Ministry of Defense will also vacate bases in Tel Aviv, Tzrifin and Haifa – as part of a coordinated move by the Ministry of Defense to the Negev and Galilee.

      As a result of the privatization, the company is expected to recover, after a decade in which it has suffered from cash-flow deficits, losing 250 million shekels annually on average. The state has had to transfer about 2.7 billion shekels to the company in order to keep it afloat. Taas, which is held in high esteem worldwide, has annual sales totaling about 2 billion shekels, 70% of which are exports.

      The land being vacated by Taas and the IDF will be used for construction of housing, in order to alleviate the housing shortage in central Israel, announced Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who chaired Wednesday's session of the Ministerial Committee for Privatization.