Banks and Financial Institutions

  • Described by Chambers Global as being "the jewel in the crown of Israeli legal services", we have been providing specialist in-depth expertise to the banking sector for over 50 years. We are unique in Israel in having unrivalled depth and breadth of expertise on the full spectrum of non-contentious, regulatory and contentious issues that face the banking industry, including those relating to financings, insolvency and reconstruction, regulatory matters, setting up of local offices and subsidiaries for international banks and banking litigation. Our expertise in the field is recognised by the legal directories which have consistently ranked us in the top tier for our work in the banking sector.

     

    We offer an integrated, multidisciplinary team that draws on our firm’s internationally recognised banking and finance, dispute resolution, regulatory, insurance, derivatives, and tax lawyers.  Our team has an outstanding record in providing practical and focused solutions to the banking industry.

     

    Our clients include the leading international and local banks, investment banks, hedge funds, financial institutions, insurance companies, export credit agencies, mezzanine funds, credit card companies and corporate borrowers.


    Our services to the banking sector include:

     

    • Advising on financings; we pioneered the legal structure of secured syndicated financing in Israel. Our team has an unrivalled reputation for acting on local and cross-border secured and unsecured corporate, acquisition, leveraged and structured finance, working capital and equipment purchasing facilities
    • Advising on regulatory matters, in particular obtaining the necessary licences from the Bank of Israel for the setting up of local branches or subsidiaries of international banks as well as obtaining control permits for the acquisition of significant or controlling interests in banking corporations
    • Banking and finance litigation. We have significant practical experience advising on disputes arising from the recent global financial crisis as well as class actions, non-performing loans, banking and securities fraud, money laundering, disputes involving derivatives and regulatory investigations
    • Corporate recovery and insolvency; we have acted on Israel's largest disposal approved by way of a court-sanctioned creditor arrangement, we are acting for one of the major secured creditors in Israel's largest corporate rehabilitation process (Israel's equivalent of Chapter 11 proceedings), we have acted as receiver on Israel's largest (in value) receivership and we regularly act for a large number of banks on major insolvency proceedings
    • Representing Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Israel Discount Bank, First International Bank of Israel, Harel Insurance and Union Bank of Israel, as lenders, and, separately, Export-Import Bank of the United States, as lender, on the financing to Bazan Oil Refineries Ltd. for the construction of a Hydrocracker. Total facilities: USD 900 million
    • Representing Bank Hapoalim on the financing of the acquisition by Paz Oil Company of the Ashdod Oil Refinery Ltd. Total facilities: USD 650 million
    • Representing the lenders on financing of the acquisition by Gazit Globe of the controlling interest of Atrium European Real Estate Limited (formerly Meinl European Land), a Jersey company quoted on the Austrian Stock Exchange. Total facilities €400 million
    • Representing the lenders in a senior facility financing transaction on the management buyout of Delek Motors as well as advising Bank Hapoalim and the Manof Fund on mezzanine financing for the same buyout for a consideration of approximately USD 400 million
    • Representing Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim on the financing of the Jerusalem Light Railway. Facilities: approximately USD 400 million
    • Representing Bank Leumi and its US subsidiary, Bank Leumi USA on four complex inter-related and cross guaranteed multi-currency revolving facilities of USD 370 million to Gazit-Globe Ltd. and three of its US subsidiaries
    • Representing Space-Communication Ltd., Israel's only private satellite operator, on its $293 million financing for the AMOS-6 satellite, consisting of USD 106 million from Export-Import Bank of the United States, $140 million from Export Development Canada and $47 million from Israel Aerospace Industries Limited
    • Representing Bank Hapoalim and Israel Discount Bank in connection with the financing of the acquisition by York Capital of 76% of the issued share capital of Psagot Investment House for NIS 1.28 billion (approximately USD 300 million)
    • Representing Bank Leumi and Bank Leumi USA in connection with their USD 250 million revolving facilities financing to Gazit-Globe Ltd. and one of its wholly owned US subsidiaries
    • Representing a syndicate of banks, led by Bank Hapoalim, in a USD 230 million cross border financing of Ness Inc. and various of its subsidiaries in a mixture of secured acquisition and working capital financing
    • Representing a syndicate of foreign and domestic banks that provided financing for Netafim, the global leader in smart drip and micro irrigation solutions, following the acquisition of control of Netafim by Permira
    • Representing Bank Leumi on the financing of the design, planning construction and operation of a hospital PFI project (the construction and operation of a hospital/medical centre by Assuta in Ashdod for approximately NIS 700 million (USD 175 million))
    • Representing Deutsche Bank on its  €70 million equity bridge financing to Negev Energy- Ashalim Finance Ltd. (an SPV owned jointly by Shikiun UBinui and Abengoa), the proceeds of which are to be used as part of the equity financing of a 110 MW solar plant located in Ashalim on a BOT basis
    • Acted as Israeli counsel for Barclays Bank PLC on various financings, including a £91 million term loan and revolving facility guaranteed by an Israeli entity and a USD 28 million financing for the purchase of an aircraft
    • Representing Mizrahi Bank (one of the senior lenders) in connection with its participation in the NIS 2 billion (approximately USD 500 million) financing of the construction of Dorad Energy’s independent power station (Israel’s largest private power station with an output of 850 MW – equivalent to 8% of Israel's total installed capacity)
    • Representing Israel Infrastructure Fund, the first Israeli private equity fund specialising in infrastructure related projects, in the USD 110 million preferred stock financing of Dalia Power Energies Ltd., the owner and operator of an 834MW private gas-powered electricity station in Tel Tzafit.
    • Representing Bank Hapoalim and Union Bank of Israel on the refinancing of working capital and long term facilities and revolving facilities arising from the merger of Hadas Arazim and Helmen Aldoubi (two of Israel's provident and pension fund managers), and acting on a separate facility for Hadas Arazim
    • Representing Bank Hapoalim and Bank Mizrahi on the financing of the leveraged buy out by Fortissimo Capital Fund (an Israeli private equity fund) of Solcon Ltd. (a publicly traded company – listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange)
    • Representing Israel Discount Bank, Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, First International Bank of Israel and the Union Bank of Israel on the refinancing of the acquisition of Prizma Provident Funds from Bank Leumi in connection with the merger of the fund with Psagot Provident Fund
    • Representing the lenders on the financing of the construction and operation by Tamares Telecommunications Ltd. of an international undersea network of cables in the Mediterranean Sea
    • Representing Bank Hapoalim on the financing of the acquisition of StarHome B.V. by Fortissimo Capital Fund for USD 80.3 million
    • Representing Bank Hapoalim and Israel Discount Bank on the financings related to the merger of Dash Apax and Meitav Investment House
    • Representing Bank Hapoalim on the financing of Israel's largest chain of cinemas
    • Representing the Israeli Association of Banks in its successful appeal before the Israeli Supreme Court to set aside a District Court judgment that had held a credit line granted by a bank to its customers was an asset capable of being attached by third party creditors
    • Representing a syndicate of lenders comprising the seven largest banks in Israel in a claim for repayment of an NIS 3 billion (USD750 million) loan granted by the syndicate to Zeevi Management and Financing Ltd. to purchase approximately 20% of the shares of Bezeq, the country’s largest telecommunications company, followed by the appointment by the court of a member of the firm as receiver on behalf of the lenders.  During the receivership, NIS 4.5 billion (approximately USD 1.2 billion) was recovered, paying off the entire debt of the lenders while still leaving hundreds of millions of NIS for the borrower post-receivership
    • Representing Mizrahi Bank in corporate rehabilitation of the IDB concern (formerly owned by Nochi Dankner), proceedings which involved the simultaneous handling of claims on a number of different fronts involving leading companies in the Israeli market
    • Representing Bank Hapoalim (Switzerland) Ltd. in a multi-million dollar claim for damages filed by clients of the bank relating to investments in securities of the Lehman Brothers investment bank following the collapse of the bank in 2008.  The District Court approved our firm's application for in limine dismissal of the claim on the ground of a foreign jurisdiction clause between the parties directing the plaintiff to file the claim in Switzerland and that the Israeli forum is the "improper forum".  The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal
    • Representing a number of defendants in a class action valued at hundreds of millions of NIS which was brought in connection with the issue of a promissory note as against the deposit of funds with a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers, backed by a Lehman Brothers guarantee.  The plaintiffs claimed that material information as to the imminent collapse of Lehman Brothers had been withheld from them
    • Representation of Mizrahi Bank in several highly-complex cases, including a request to the courts for the enforced settlement of a nearly NIS 6 billion debt (approximately USD 1.5 million) owed by a well-known Israeli development company to banks and bondholders
    • Representing Bank Discount Ltd. in a petition filed by Bank Yahav relating to the award to Bank Discount of a government tender worth more than NIS 1 billion (approximately USD 250 million) regarding the management of personal loans to public sector employees
    • Representing Bank Hapoalim in a class action brought against it and Israel Petrochemicals Enterprises, together with other respondents, by bondholders of Israel Petrochemicals Enterprises.  The action claims collusion with regard to the distribution of funds received by the company from the sale of certain assets, and includes petitions for various remedies including damages in the amount of NIS 120 million (approximately USD 30 million)
    • Defending Mizrahi Bank against a claim for damages of NIS 82 million (approximately USD 21 million), brought by a client holding an options trading account at a branch of the Bank.  The plaintiff accused the Bank of having seized their account without prior notice in writing, and because of the blocked account and other changes unilaterally made by the Bank, heavy trading losses were incurred, as were interest and linkage charges imposed by the Bank
    • Representing Bank Hapoalim in a claim against a group of companies and private individuals valued at in excess of NIS 1 billion (approximately USD 250 million), including appointment as a receiver over certain high-value real estate, and achieving settlement of the claim
    • Representing Bank Igud in mutual claims against clients in the amount of hundreds of millions of dollars, concerning the improper exploitation by the clients of an error in the bank’s computerised system
    • Representing a consortium of banks in connection with the sale by way of realisation of USD 750 million worth of shares in Bezeq, one of Israel's major telecommunications companies, in the largest secondary offering in Israel’s history
    • Representing Bank Igud Le-Israel Ltd. and the chairman of the board of directors of the bank in a claim filed against them and other controlling shareholders of the bank by Shlomo Eliyahu and a company owned by him relating to the process of appointment of the bank's CEO.  The District Court of Tel Aviv gave a judgment in favor of Bank Igud and the chairman, ruling that the appointment process was properly conducted and that the actions of the chairman were conducted for the benefit of the bank and without any procedural or substantive flaws
    • Representing Bank Hapoalim in a number of proceedings for the recovery of debts accumulated by the Kachtan Group in the amount of more than NIS 1 billion (approximately USD 250 million), eventually negotiating and finalising a settlement agreement with the Group
    • Defending a major Israeli bank against an NIS 26 million claim commenced by foreign customers for negligence and breach of the bank's duty of care in the handling of their accounts
    • Defending a major Israeli bank in a precedent-setting case in proceedings commenced by one of its account holders who disputed the bank's right to terminate its credit facility and who claimed substantial damages resulting from the termination
    • "Fantastic in finance" "Very strong in banking and facility agreements."

    • “S Horowitz & Co belongs to a premier league of lawyers in Israel.”

    • "Clients are extremely satisfied with the firms advice on complex transactions"

    • "among the best"