(Source: Haaretz)

“Our big advantage is Canada, where the economy is stable. We are spread out there, in residential properties and commercial centers.” Says El-Ad Group CEO Miki Naftali…

THE PLAZA HOTEL, Manhattan – At a time when tycoons (of both sexes) talk about receiving messages from above, Yitzhak Tshuva prefers to do business the old-fashioned way. Yet the idea of a higher power inevitably comes to mind when one considers the events that enabled him to weather the serious financial storm that erupted last winter.

The first and best-known of these events is the discovery of enormous natural-gas reserves off the coast of Haifa, which has pretty much solved any problem that Delek – the public company controlled by Tshuva – may have with its balance sheet in the next few years. But it was actually something else that gave the El-Ad Group, Tshuva’s massive private real-estate company, the oxygen it needed, at least at the beginning of the crisis: An event that still sounds like something out of “Arabian Nights.”

It was when real-estate and financial companies were dropping like flies on Wall Street, and the cash registers at high-end New York hotels like the Plaza, which was bought by Tshuva in 2004, fell silent. But then came a telephone call, alerting the Plaza staff to the imminent arrival of a Saudi prince for a weeklong stay – and the prince, the hotel’s staff learned, was not coming alone: He and his entourage would need 92 rooms, including the presidential suites. The total price agreed upon was $100,000 a day, not including additional expenses incurred by eating and shopping at the hotel.

Read the full article by Rotem Starkman and Efrat Neuman “I see myself as a hunter” on Haaretz.com.

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