As expected, El Al Israel Airlines (LY, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion) raised ILS505 million shekels (USD148 million) in its share offering on September 16, it said in a stock exchange filing, completing a measure that now opens the way to a state bailout package.

It sold 753,353,000 new shares at a minimum price of ILS0.671 shekels (USD0.196) per share, according to a bidding report summarised in the filing.

A total of 491 orders were received to buy the shares, for a total sum of around ILS654 million (USD191 million), but El Al accepted ILS505 million worth. The offering took the total number of shares outstanding to 1.25 million.

El Al gave no further details. However, according to local media, Eli Rosenberg obtained a controlling stake via the offering. His company Kanfei Nesharim acquired a 42.85% stake in the airline, the business daily Globes reported.

The 27-year-old son of New York-based businessman Kenny Rosenberg possesses the necessary qualification of Israeli citizenship and lives in Jerusalem. He offered in July to inject USD75 million into the cash-strapped carrier in return for a 44.99% stake and had said he would take part in the offering.

The Israeli state, which committed to buying shares unwanted by the public, bought about ILS100 million (USD29.2 million) worth, Globes said. That raises its shareholding to about 15%, while the stake held by previous controlling shareholder Knafaim Holdings falls to the same level, around 15%.

“First and foremost, Kanfei Nesharim takes upon itself a great responsibility to restore the trust of passengers, and to ensure the jobs of thousands of El Al employees, and lead Israel's airline into a secure future,” Rosenberg's company said in a statement on the evening of September 16.

It placed emphasis on the statement on punctuality, investing in improving service, and upgrading the food in all classes.

“The results of the offering express investors’ trust in the company’s business plan and in the state aid,” Israel’s Finance Ministry said in its own release.

El Al will now receive a USD250 million loan 75% backed by the government, which will be used in part to pay back customers whose flights were cancelled.

Subsequently, in a new filing on September 17, El Al pledged to stage “a gradual return” of scheduled flights.

On October 1, it will launch scheduled services from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion to Athens Int'l, while subsidiary Sun d'Or International Airlines (2U, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion) will offer charter flights to destinations in Greece and Croatia. New York JFK, London Heathrow, and Paris CDG will follow on October 12 as El Al starts to bring its three B787-8s and twelve B787-9s out of hibernation.

Before that, it will restart cargo flights on September 21, to Hong Kong Int'l, Mumbai Int'l, Shanghai Pudong, and other destinations according to needs that arise.