The Israeli government hopes to get out of the banking business by yearend. On Sept. 13, Finance Minister Ehud Olmert announced he was putting 10% of Bank Leumi and an option for a further 10% on the block. The 20% stake will give the buyer control over Israel's No. 2 bank, with the right to appoint a majority of the board. The stake is worth more than $900 million at current market prices. Finance Ministry sources say groups from the U.S., Britain, and Israel are interested.
EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady