The sale of state-owned IMI Systems, a major military company, to Elbit Systems, announced Sunday, was being hailed as an economic and social boon for the country.
Under the sale agreement, IMI will shut down its Ramat Hasharon factories and move them to Beersheva, where it will boost the local economy with many new jobs. At the same time, departure of the factories will free up land for residential housing in the area, Globes reported.
“The agreement that was reached continues the Finance Ministry’s policy of clearing [industry] from high-demand areas for the public benefit,” said Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.
“The move of the factories to the Negev will allow constructions of thousands of housing units in the heart of a high-demand area, while strengthening industry and employment in the Negev.”
IMI, formerly known as Israel Military Industries, is known for its manufacture of infantry weapons such as the Uzi, the Galil assault rifle and the Negev machine gun, as well as much of the IDF ground forces’ ammunition, multiple types of rockets for air and artillery systems, and precision ordnance.
The sale price was reported as 1.8 billion shekels ($520 million), with an another 100 million ($29 million) to be paid by Elbit if IMI reaches specified overseas sales goals in 2018.