Mekorot Israel National Water’s Bonds Offering

Gross & Co. advised Mekorot Israel National Water Co. on the successful completion of its bond offering, in which the company raised NIS 1.2 billion.

Mekorot is Israel’s national water supplier and its top agency for water management.

Gross & Co. advised Mekorot with a team comprising partners Esther Koren and Ifat Sheftel-Ben Zvi, as well as associates Shelly Barad Levi and Ofri Halevy.

 

Lawyer Monthly had the pleasure to speak with Ifat Sheftel-Ben Zvi, Partner at Gross & Co. to give us some further insight into this transaction:

Please tell us more about the bond offering and your team’s role in enabling it.

We represented Mekorot Israel National Water Company Ltd (“Mekorot”) in a bond raise of NIS 1.2 billion in May 2022, through the expansion of two existing bond series. The demand at the tenders was twice the total amount raised.

Mekorot is a governmental, global water company, known for its integrative management of all types of water in a uniform system and for the simultaneous treatment of sectors in the water economy. The public offering involved representation vis-à-vis government authorities.

We have been representing Mekorot for over 20 years in various corporate matters, including in its private bond issuances and in its IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in 2019, raising an additional NIS 1 billion. Following the IPO, we continued to represent Mekorot in its public bond raises by way of expansion of existing bonds series, in an aggregate amount of approximately NIS 4 billion.

What challenges did the team encounter during the process, and what specialised skills and experience did you employ to overcome them?

On the latest bond raise, some of the main challenges we faced in our work were the unusual time restrictions working with state officials from multiple government authorities, having a tight schedule to complete the public offering, and working in the context of changing market conditions. We overcame these challenges through great synergic teamwork, both with Mekorot management and within the internal teams, all while coordinating our work with state officials and aligning deadlines. Communication is of utmost importance in challenging transactions like this.

What impact is the bond offering expected to have on Mekorot and water utilities in Israel more widely?

Mekorot has a three-year development plan with projects to be carried out with a minimum annual volume of NIS 1.5 billion (and approximately NIS 4.5 billion for the three-year development plan). The bond funds raised to date will allow Mekorot to continue developing the water sector. The demand for water forces Mekorot to constantly look for additional solutions to water challenges, inter alia, to develop new water desalination technologies, to develop and upgrade waterways and to develop and operate new water facilities. Investment in the development of the Israeli water sector is important and crucial, especially given both local and global environmental forecasts.

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