August 30, 2017 / 7:45 AM / a year ago

Israel's Delek Group Q2 profit more than doubles

TEL AVIV, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Israeli energy conglomerate Delek Group reported a 125 percent jump in quarterly net profit, boosted by increased sales of natural gas from the Tamar reservoir and a gain from an acquisition.

Delek said on Wednesday it earned 180 million shekels ($50 million) in the second quarter, up from 80 million a year earlier. Revenue rose to 1.6 billion shekels from 1.4 billion.

Due to the acquisition of North Sea oil producer Ithaca Energy Inc, Delek had a profit of 137 million shekels in the quarter.

Delek, through a subsidiary, has major shares in the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields off Israel’s coast. Profit from exploration and production was 130 million shekels in the quarter, compared with 72 million in the same period in 2016.

It produced 2.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas at Tamar in the quarter, up 9 percent from a year earlier.

In July, a special purpose company was established by Delek Group’s unit Delek Drilling called Tamar Petroleum, which went public in Tel Aviv. As a result, Delek Group will book an after-tax profit of 800 million shekels in the third quarter.

Delek CEO Asaf Bartfeld said the company has received several offers for its holding in insurer Phoenix at above the market price.

“We believe that an agreement to sell control of the company may be executed in the near future,” he said.

Delek has tried several times in recent years to sell Phoenix but has yet to clinch a deal.

Delek declared a dividend of 260 million shekels, or 21.7 shekels a share, up from 200 in the first quarter.

$1 = 3.5736 shekels Reporting by Tova Cohen, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch

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