The day after Egypt announced that it was terminating the gas supply contract with Israel, Ampal-American Israel Corporation CFO Irit Eluz told Globes Monday, "The situation was bad before, and it's bad now."
Ampal, controlled by chairman Yosef Maiman, which owns 12.5 percent of Egyptian gas exporter East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), has opened international arbitration proceedings against Egypt over disruptions in gas deliveries to EMG.
"We believe that this is a tactical measure in response to the legal proceedings we initiated," added Eluz.
Ampal's share price has fallen 92% in the past 14 months. The share price fell 22% in Monday morning trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to NIS 0.74, after falling 3.7% on Nasdaq yesterday to $0.26, giving a market cap of $14 million.
Earlier Monday, Ampal's bondholders, who are owed NIS 870 million, convened at the City Hotel in Tel Aviv. Earlier this month, the representatives of the Series B bond, Ampal's largest bond, agreed to a debt settlement structure that included a two-year moratorium on payments of the principal, while interest payments would continue on schedule. Ampal's Series B bond debt is NIS 470 million, its Series A bond debt is NIS 250 million, and its Series C bond debt is NIS 150 million.
Under the debt settlement, the bondholders will receive a higher interest rate and options on 23% of Ampal's shares (which would be given to the company's unsecured creditors) in exchange for the two-year moratorium on the principle payments. Maiman will inject $6 million in cash or cash equivalents, and he will forgo his salary in order to slash the company's administrative and general expenses. The bondholders will also receive the right to demand that Ampal quit its ethanol project in Colombia and reimburse the company for the $22.5 million investment.