Eli Rosenberg, the 30-year-old Jerusalem yeshiva student and son of New York health-sector entrepreneur Kenny Rosenberg, made his formal offer for control of El Al Israel Airlines (LY, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion) on July 20.

He and his family are prepared to pay USD75 million for a 44.99% stake in the struggling Israeli flag carrier, as explained in a letter from Rosenberg’s lawyers which El Al released to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The offer, presented to the Israel Companies Authority and the Finance Ministry, values El Al at USD95 million, 5% more than its market capitalisation on the bourse.

Under Israeli law, the stake is the maximum he can acquire for control of the company without having to make a general offer for all of the shares. Unlike his father, Eli Rosenberg has Israeli citizenship, also a prerequisite under the rules.

The offer is valid until the end of August, he said, and to demonstrate his seriousness he opened a trustee account at Mizrahi Tefahot Bank in which he had deposited USD15 million.

As previously reported, the Rosenbergs' earlier plan was to buy the 38% stake in the airline held by Knafaim. However, Knafaim rejected the offer.

The letter acknowledged that Eli Rosenberg had been able to obtain only limited data about the airline but that the investor “assumes the publicly available reports issued by El Al are accurate, complete, and comprehensive” and that he is ready to buy the airline “as is.”

El Al agreed earlier this month to a government rescue plan that could result in its nationalisation. The government offered to guarantee up to 75% of a USD250 million bank loan and to buy any unsold shares in a USD150 million share offering, which could give it a stake of up to 61%.

On July 22, the Ministry of Finance clarified to El Al that it must conduct the share issue, by the end of August, before the government will back the loan, the business newspaper TheMarker reported. El Al protested that this was the first time it had been informed this was the case, stressing once again that immediate funding is critical.

Meanwhile, El Al has said it will cancel at least ten destinations it used to fly to as part of its rescue plan and will reduce its fleet from 47 aircraft to 36, with the possibility afterwards of downsizing further, the Israeli public broadcaster KAN reported.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, El Al has eighteen B737-800s, eight B737-900(ER)s, six B777-200(ER)s, three B787-8s, and twelve B787-9s, all of which are currently inactive. The company has postponed the resumption of its scheduled passenger operations until the end of August.