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New York's Safra Bank Acquires Israeli Bank Hapoalim's Private Banking Business in Miami

New York's Safra Bank Acquires Israeli Bank Hapoalim's Private Banking Business in Miami

“We are determined to play a leading role in the consolidation of the private banking market,” said Jacob J. Safra, vice-chairman of Safra National Bank. “Our capital strength, family ownership and 175 years of experience give us great flexibility to do such transactions.”

“We look forward to welcoming the clients and employees of Bank Hapoalim in Miami to our organization,” said Simoni Morato, CEO of Safra National Bank of New York. Bank Hapoalim’s private banking business in Miami fits perfectly with the strategic vision of the J. Safra Group and Safra National Bank of New York, and we are confident we will add immeasurable value to clients.” The J. Safra Group, with total assets under management of over $194 billion and aggregate stockholders equity of $15.4 billion, is controlled by Jacob’s father, billionaire Joseph Safra, based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The group consists of privately owned banks under the Safra name, real estate and agribusiness investments and other holdings. The group’s banking interests, which have over 160 locations globally, are Safra National Bank of New York headquartered in New York City; J. Safra Sarasin, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland; and Banco Safra, headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil; all independent from one another from a consolidated supervision standpoint. The group’s real estate holdings consist of more than 200 premier commercial, residential, retail and farmland properties worldwide, such as New York City’s 660 Madison Avenue office complex and London’s iconic Gherkin Building. Its investments in other sectors include, among others, agribusiness holdings in Brazil and Chiquita Brands International Inc. There are more than 28,000 employees associated with the J. Safra Group, with deep relationships in markets worldwide. The deal is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2017, subject to regulatory clearance. Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank, was established in 1921 by the Israeli trade union federation Histadrut and the Zionist Organisation. The bank was owned by the Histadrut until 1983, when it was nationalized, and was held by the Israeli government until 1996, when it was sold to a group of investors led by the late Ted Arison. It is currently controlled by Arison Holdings through an equity stake of about 20 percent, which is owned by Ted’s daughter Shari Arison. As of the end of 2015 Hapoalim had over $110 billion in assets, with nearly $8.5 billion in equity capital and almost 12,000 employees worldwide. Hapoalim has been chosen as Bank of the Year in Israel for 2015, by The Banker, a publication of the Financial Times Group. Photo: Jacob J. Safra, Vice-Chairman of Safra National Bank. (Bilan)]]>

Brookfield $BAM Buying $5.2B Petrobras Pipeline, @Shell Exiting Argentine Gas Stations

Brookfield $BAM Buying $5.2B Petrobras Pipeline, @Shell Exiting Argentine Gas Stations

Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) (BM&F Bovespa: PETR3, PETR4) agreed to sell its 1,560 miles natural gas pipeline Nova Transportadora do Sudeste for $5.2 billion, to a consortium led by Canada’s private equity giant Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (NYSE: BAM) (TSX: BAM.A), with the participation of British Columbia’s pension fund, China’s CIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, and private equity firm First Reserve. The deal is subject to approval by the board of directors of Petrobras and Brazilian government authorities. So far this year, Petrobras had sold $3.9 billion in assets, of a total $15.1 billion target for divestments expected by the end of this year. Downsizing efforts have accelerated since May, when Pedro Parente was appointed as CEO of Petrobras, which is burdened with over $120 million in debt, the largest of any global oil firm. Brookfield, Canada’s largest private equity and alternative asset manager, has roughly $225 billion in assets under management. The firm invests in the property, power, and infrastructure sectors. Brookfield is based in Toronto, Canada with additional offices across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Brookfield, formerly known as Brascan Corp, was founded in 1899 as a builder and operator of electricity and transport infrastructure in Brazil, reflected in its earlier name which combined “Brasil” and Canada. The move would follow Brookfield’s agreement last month, to buy Brazilian engineering conglomerate Grupo Odebrecht’s 70 percent stake in water and sewage group Odebrecht Ambiental for $1.65 billion. Odebrecht Group, Brazil’s fourth largest private group, is a global conglomerate consisting of diversified businesses in the fields of engineering, construction, chemicals and petrochemicals. In June 2015, Brazilian authorities arrested the group’s chief executive Marcelo Odebrecht, in connection with an ongoing probe into bribes paid by Petrobras, which has seen Brazil’s former President Dilma Rouseff recently impeached, and her predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, embroiled in the scandal. In March 2016, Marcelo Odebrecht was slapped with a 19-year prison sentence, for paying over $30 million in bribes to executives of Petrobras, in exchange for contracts and influence. In January, Brookfield acquired a 57.6 percent stake in power generator Isagen SA (Bolsa Colomb: ISAGEN) from the Government of Colombia for $1.99-billion, the largest privatization deal in the country in nearly a decade. WELL-OILED INTER-AMERICAN CROSS-BORDER ENERGY DEALS In July, Petrobras agreed to sell a 66% stake in its offshore exploration block BM-S-8 license in the Santos basin, to Norway’s Statoil ASA, for $2.5 billion. The divestiture included a substantial part of the Carcara oil discovery, said to be one of the largest in the world in recent years. Meanwhile, last week Anglo-Dutch global oil and gas operator Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE/LSE: RDS-A) chief executive Ben van Beurden indicated at a conference in New York that the company is in the middle of a strategic review of its downstream assets in Argentina, as part of a global $30 billion divestment program. Shell Argentina subsequently clarified in a statement that “in response to the global circumstances of our industry and the objectives behind our combination with BG, we are conducting a strategic review only of our downstream business and assets in the country,” which include its Dock Sud refinery in Buenos Aires, retail gas stations, chemicals, propane gas, aviation and maritime fuels, and lubricants. Shell’s 676 gas stations in Argentina, bring its market share to 19 percent, the second largest after state-owned YPF SA, which has 1430 stations with a 40 percent market share. argentina_gas_stations_mkt-share_sept-2016 “Upstream assets aren’t included in the review as shale investments are a priority for the company. Shell does not want to lose its presence in Argentina, and has a strong commitment to the country,” added Joel Glotzer, a Shell spokesperson in Argentina. Juan Jose Aranguren, Shell’s previous CEO in Argentina for 12 years and an energy industry veteran with nearly four decades of experience, was one of the foremost business critics of former President Christina Kirchner. He was a key adviser of current President Mauricio Macri, and became Argentina’s new Energy Minister, now in the public eye due to electricity and gas rate hikes which the new administration is struggling to implement in the face of strong resistance. The appointment of Teófilo Lacroze as CEO of Shell in Argentina, replacing Aranguren in March, brought about a new era as the company is changing its global business strategy, in the midst of a new local ecosystem and more conducive dialogue and relationships with government authorities. “I see myself more in a scenario where the external relationship with the authorities involves greater dialogue and building the future, with more internal focus on developing the sector, both downstream (products leaving the refinery and reaching the final consumer) in which we want to grow above average, as well as upstream (required for crude exploration and extraction), to move from a pilot stage to production,” Lacroze said earlier this year. Two weeks ago, Marcelo Mindlin, controlling shareholder and president of Pampa Energia (NYSE: PAM), the largest integrated electricity company in Argentina, which bought 67.19 percent of Petrobras Argentina (PESA) in May for $892 million, became PESA’s president. Pampa’s acquisition of PESA included 269 gas stations, a refinery in Bahia Blanca, shares in Transportadora Gas del Sur (TGS), thermal and hydroelectric power plant Genelba Picún Pichi Leufu, several petrochemical plants in Bahia Blanca and Santa Fe, and a series of oil basins. Pampa also controls Transener, the largest network of high voltage transmission in Argentina, and Edenor, the largest electricity distributor in Argentina. Mindlin is a former founding partner of IRSA, and vice chairman of Cresud, APSA (formerly Alto Palermo SA), Dolphin Fund Management and Hoteles Argentinos. In 2012, through their Axion Energy unit, the Argentine Bulgheroni Group‘s Bridas Corp., a joint venture with China’s state owned enterprise CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corporation), acquired over 600 Esso service stations from Exxon Mobil, for $800 million. In 2011, Oil Combustibles, controlled by Cristóbal López, acquired a Petrobras refinery in Santa Fe, Argentina, togehgter with 365 gas stations for $110 million. Oil Combustibles is currently in the midst of insolvency procedures (“concurso de acreedores”). “Lower oil prices continue to be a significant challenge across the business, particularly in the Upstream. We are managing the company through the down-cycle by reducing costs, by delivering on lower and more predictable investment levels, executing our asset sales plans and starting up profitable new projects,” Shell’s van Beurden said in late July, after reporting that Shell Q2 earnings plunged 72 percent. At the end of August, after an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 97 miles south of Louisiana under investigsation by the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Shell agreed to sell four Green Canyon offshore blocks, referred to as the Brutus/Glider assets, to EnVen Energy Ventures LLC, for $425 million in cash. Two weeks ago, Compañía de Petróleos de Chile COPEC SA (SNSE: COPEC), one of the largest companies in Chile, agreed to acquire MAPCO Express Inc., with 348 convenience stores, from Delek US Holdings Inc. (NYSE: DK) for $535 million in cash. Delek US is a diversified downstream energy company with assets in petroleum refining, logistics and convenience store retailing. A week earlier, Canadian Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (TSX: ATD.A ATD.B), one of the world’s largest company-owned convenience store operators, agreed to acquire San Antonio, Texas-based CST Brands Inc. (NYSE: CST) for $4.4 billion. CST operates over 2,000 locations throughout the Southwestern United States with an important presence in Texas, Georgia, the U.S. Southeast Region, New York and Eastern Canada. CST also controls the general partner of CrossAmerica Partners (NYSE: CAPL), a gas distributor to more than 1,100 locations in the United States. In July, Dallas, Texas-based Alon USA Energy Inc. (NYSE: ALJ), an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products, retained JPMorgan to explore strategic alternatives including a sale of the company or some of its assets. Alon is the largest 7-Eleven licensee in the United States and operates approximately 300 gas stations and convenience stores in Texas and New Mexico. Alon’s largest shareholder is Delek US Holdings Inc., with a stake of roughly 48% which it acquired from Israel’s Alon Group for $572 million in April 2015. In June, Canada’s largest retailer, Loblaw Cos. Ltd (TSX: L), said it is seeking to sell its “gas bar” operations for CAD $400 million (USD $308 million). Loblaw’s gas station network is one of the largest in Canada, consisting of 212 retail fuel sites with adjacent grocery stores. Photo: Argentine President Mauricio Macri with Marcelo Mindlin, President of Pampa Energy, at World Economic Forum in Davos, in January 2016.]]>

Israeli Fleet Telematics Leader Pointer $PNTR Buys Brazilian Cielo Telecom for $6.5M

Israeli Fleet Telematics Leader Pointer $PNTR Buys Brazilian Cielo Telecom for $6.5M

Pointer Telocation Ltd. (NASDAQ/TASE: PNTR) agreed to acquire Brazilian fleet management company Cielo Telecom, for $6.5 million. Cielo, founded in 1994, operates a fleet of 16,000 trucks in southern Brazil, with a comprehensive set of telematics software and application tools for vehicle monitoring, driver behavior management, time management, including blocking, tracking and telemetry devices and various actuators for vehicle security and driver control. Cielo also provides a round-the-clock support center and vehicle recovery service. The move comes less than a month after Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) agreed to acquire Fleetmatics Group PLC (NYSE: FLTX), a leading global provider of fleet and mobile workforce management solutions, for $2.4 billion, intended to bolster Verizon’s position as a leading provider of next generation connected vehicle services. In February 2016, wireless communications solutions provider CalAmp Corp. (NASDAQ: CAMP) agreed to acquire vehicle theft recovery systems provider LoJack Corp. (NASDAQ: LOJN) for $134 million, to create a leader in connected car solutions and vehicle telematics applications. Last year, Israeli-American telematics startup GreenRoad, a leading Silicon Valley headquartered SaaS driver behavior and fleet performance service provider, raised a $26 million Series G round led by Israel Growth Partners, with participation from existing investors Amadeus Capital Partners, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, and Richard Branson’s Virgin Green Fund. The round brought the startup’s total funding to nearly $100 million. Pointer Telocation is a leading provider of telematics technology and services to the automotive and insurance industries, including fleet management, mobile asset management, stolen vehicle recovery, vehicle diagnosis and Internet of Things solutions. The company has a growing list of customers and products installed in 50 countries. The company’s Cellocator is a leading automatic vehicle location (AVL) solutions provider for stolen vehicle retrieval, fleet management, car & driver safety, public safety, and vehicle security. “This acquisition will expand our customer base and enable us to better penetrate the southern part of Brazil and participate actively in the truck segment of fleet management,” said Pointer chief executive David Mahlab. “Given our existing infrastructure in Brazil, we see strong synergistic potential from the combination of the newly acquired business with ours, and we expect the acquisition to be accretive as of the first day.” “We expect this acquisition to position us as one of the leading fleet management companies in Brazil,” he added. Following our acquisition in South Africa two years ago, this is another step in the execution of our global expansion strategy; a strategy that combines organic growth and M&A, which aims at positioning Pointer as one of the global leaders in MRM and fleet management.” Pointer was recently contracted by the Rio de Janeiro Transit Authority to provide technology and integration services during the 2016 Olympic Games, managing the vehicles and personnel responsible for transit control, emergency and contingencies. Over 200 vehicles were monitored by Pointer in real time throughout the Games. The system relied on Pointer’s Web Fleet software platform and was integrated into the city’s CET Control and COR Operation Center, providing a unified view of traffic information throughout Rio de Janeiro. Pointer has a market capitalization of $57.5 million. On June 8, 2016 Pointer spun off its Israeli subsidiary, Shagrir Group Vehicle Services Ltd., through which Pointer carried out its road side assistance (RSA) activities and listed Shagrir’s shares for trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Pointer’s revenues for the second quarter of 2016 increased 4.6% to $16.2 million as compared to $15.5 million in the second quarter of 2015. In local currency terms, revenues increased by 15%. Gross profit was $7.7 million (47.7% of revenues) compared to $7.2 million (46.7% of revenues) in the second quarter of 2015. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations was $2.3 million compared with $2.1 million in the second quarter of 2015, an increase of 9%. The Global Commercial Telematics Market The SaaS-based fleet management solution market is extraordinarily large, lightly penetrated, global and fragmented. Telematics are an interdisciplinary field encompassing telecommunications, vehicular technologies, road transportation, road safety, electrical engineering, and computer science. Vehicle telematics solutions provide fleet operators with visibility into vehicle location, fuel usage, speed and mileage, and other insights into their mobile workforce, helping them to reduce operating costs, as well as increase revenue. The global telematics market is poised to grow exponentially in the future, with approximately 104 million new cars expected to have some form of connectivity by 2025, according to EY. No single player holds a dominant position in the telematics market yet, and we believe no one will ever own it alone. The development of most of these services will force every major player to work outside its core competency, notes EY. According to a new report by MarketIntelReports entitled World Commercial Telematics Market, the global commercial telematics market is expected to reach $49.12 billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 18.4 % during the forecast period (2014 – 2020). The global commercial telematics market is driven by increased market penetration of smart phones, lowered connectivity cost, availability of high speed internet technologies such as LTE, greater governmental mandate in terms of safety compliance mandates, road infrastructure constraints, and driver monitoring. The commercial telematics market has been a growing trend since the past decade as a result of the decreasing costs of connectivity throughout the globe. Furthermore, with the development of technologies such as VoIP, LTE and others, the telematics market is expected to growth in the coming years. Market research firm MarketsandMarkets forecasts the global commercial telematics market to grow from $20.02 billion in 2015 to $47.58 billion by 2020.  ]]>