September 4, 2018 / 6:13 PM / in 8 months

Citi wins tender to buy Israeli government's Bank Leumi stake

Pedestrians are reflected in the windows of a branch of Bank Leumi, Israel's second-largest lender, in Tel Aviv, Israel May 30, 2013. REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Citi (C.N) won a tender to buy the Israeli government’s remaining 5.37 percent stake in Leumi (LUMI.TA), the country’s second largest bank, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.

After the Tel Aviv market close, Israel’s Accountant General approached nine investment banks about the purchase of the 81 million shares, worth nearly 2 billion shekels ($553 million).

The ministry said it received six bids, offering no further details.

Citi is expected to distribute the shares to its clients.

Leumi’s shares fell 0.9 percent on Tuesday to 23.72 shekels.

Nearly 89 percent of Leumi trades on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

In June, the ministry said it had planned to sell off its Leumi stake — nationalized after a crisis in banking shares in 1983 — within a year.

Reporting by Tova Cohen and Steven Scheer; Editing by Edmund Blair

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