Elbit Systems Ltd. has reached a deal with Israel’s Finance Ministry to purchase government-owned Israel Military Industry (IMI) Systems in a NIS 1.8 billion ($520 million) agreement that will see Elbit vacate its headquarters and plants in tony Ramat Hasharon.
Another NIS 100 million ($29 million) is to be added to the deal by Elbit later on, if IMI reaches certain sales goals overseas this year.
The tender for privatization of IMI, first approved in 2013, was subsequently won by Elbit.
The move will allow for the re-zoning and development of upscale residential areas in the city, where demand for housing is skyrocketing.
Elbit Systems will move all of its facilities to the Negev, where jobs are at a premium and where labor is not nearly as expensive as it is in central Israel. The defense electronics firm will reopen its facilities in the Ramat Beka industrial zone south of Be’er Sheva.
IMI, the maker of the classic Israeli weapon called the “Uzi” as well as the Galil assault rifle, the Negev machine gun and various types of ammunition, rockets and precision ordnance, will expand the number of jobs that will can be made available to the population in southern Israel.
“The agreement reached today continues the Ministry of Finance’s policy of vacating areas in demand areas for the benefit of the public,” Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said in a statement.
“Transferring the plants to the Negev will allow for the construction of thousands of homes while strengthening industry and employment in the Negev,” Kahlon added.