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February 3, 2020

Bank Hapoalim to distribute remaining Isracard holding as dividend

Israeli lender Bank Hapoalim will distribute its remaining 33% interest in the credit card business Isracard as a dividend to shareholders.

The dividend is scheduled to be distributed to shareholders on 9 March 2020, reported Reuters. The stake is worth $237m.

Hapoalim has received the green light from its board for carrying out the distribution as a “dividend in kind”, it said in a regulatory filing.

Launched in 1975, Isracard’s three main operating segments are financing activity, debit card issuance and clearing. The business is headed by Yaakov Levinson.

Bank Hapoalim offloaded the remaining Isracard shares to institutional investors and the general public in an IPO executed in 2019.

Last month, American asset management firm Blackstone unveiled plans to buy Isracard at a valuation of $810m.

Hapoalim along with its key Israeli rival Bank Leumi were asked to separate the ownership of their credit card businesses in an effort to improve competition in the country’s banking sector.

American private equity firm Warburg Pincus snapped up Leumi Card from majority owner Bank Leumi as well as Azrieli Group in a ILS2.5bn ($696m) deal in February 2019.

The acquired entity now operates under the Max brand.

Warburg Pincus is reportedly planning to invest ILS800m into its newly acquired Israeli credit card business.

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