October 22, 2018 / 7:17 PM / a month ago

Defense minister halts Israel Aerospace IPO citing security fears: report

FILE PHOTO: Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman visits the southern city of Sderot, on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border, July 20, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s defense minister has ordered a halt to preparations for an initial public offering of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) [ISRAI.UL] over fears of possible security breaches, the Israeli business daily Globes reported on Monday.

State-owned IAI was considering offering a minority stake in the company but Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman had ordered a halt to preparations for the IPO because officials in his department had expressed concerns that outside investors might become privy to highly classified information, the report said.

It added that the freeze would remain in place at least until senior Defence Ministry officials complete a detailed report on the implications and possible risks if IAI shares were to be issued to the public.

The Defence Ministry declined to comment on the report and an IAI spokeswoman was not immediately available.

IAI’s Chief Financial Officer Eyal Younian told Reuters in March last year that to help finance acquisitions the government should move ahead soon with plans to sell a 20 percent stake in the company on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Adrian Croft

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