Israel's Delek seeks London listing as energy group goes global

By Angelina Rascouet on 5/9/2017

LONDON (Bloomberg) -- Delek Group Ltd., the Israeli energy company that bought UK oil explorer Ithaca Energy Inc. this year, is seeking a London listing to help further overseas expansion.

“If Delek Group wants to be international, we have to be traded on an international exchange and I think London is one of the good places to be in,” Asaf Bartfeld, the company’s president and CEO, said Monday in an interview. “In the near future, we plan to be listed in London.”

Delek, controlled by billionaire Yitzchak Teshuva, agreed to buy Ithaca for $615 million in February to expand in the UK North Sea and become a “global exploration and production company.” It’s now studying opportunities in North America, including in Canada and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Bartfeld said Monday, ruling out shale projects. The shares already trade in Tel Aviv.

In March 2015, Delek’s management decided to delay plans to list its shares in London because of volatility in international energy markets and regulatory issues in Israel that needed to be resolved.

Back home, Delek is considering export markets for the giant Leviathan gas discovery -- Israel’s biggest -- in which it holds a 45% stake. The field is due to start providing gas to Israel and Jordan at the end of 2019. Delek and its partners, which include Noble Energy Inc., sanctioned the project in February.

The output from Leviathan could also be sent to liquefied natural gas plants in Egypt, and may also be carried by new pipelines to markets such as Italy and Turkey, Bartfeld said, adding that these options are still under discussion.

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