Bank Hapoalim to list credit card unit shares on Tel Aviv bourse

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Bank Hapoalim said on Sunday it will list the shares of its credit card unit Isracard on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange following demands by regulators for banks to divest their credit card subsidiaries.

Hapoalim, one of Israel’s two largest banks, said in a statement it would hold a roadshow with investors in the coming weeks. It did not provide details on the timing or scope of the offering.

“The credit card market in Israel has been growing steadily the past few years, at high levels relative to overall economic activity,” Hapoalim CEO Arik Pinto said.

In preparation for the offering, Isracard’s board declared a dividend of 867 million shekels ($239 million), of which 851 million will go to Hapoalim, according to a regulatory filing.

Isracard is Israel’s largest credit card issuer, with annual turnover of 155 billion shekels, representing 45 percent of credit card transactions. It has 3 million customers and has issued five million credit cards.

In 2018, its net profit rose 6 percent to 318 million shekels, while its consumer credit portfolio grew more than 24 percent to 3 billion shekels.

Last month, U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus completed its acquisition of rival Bank Leumi’s credit card business, Leumi Card.

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