Adani Group on Tuesday purchased the Israeli port of Haifa for $1.2 billion. The acquisition is part of Adani Group's plan to increase investment in Israel, including the establishment of an artificial intelligence laboratory in Tel Aviv.
Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani appeared with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the signing of the deal and spoke of investment opportunities.
Prime Minister Netanyahu called the Haifa Port takeover a "significant milestone" that will improve connectivity between India and Israel in various ways, including transportation, air routes, and sea routes.
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"I think this is an enormous milestone...Over 100 years ago, and during World World I, it was the brave Indian soldiers who helped liberate the city of Haifa. And today, it's very robust Indian investors who are helping to liberate the port of Haifa," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu also said that he discussed with his "good friend" PM Narendra Modi this vision of "having connectivity between our countries in many ways, transportation lines and air routes and sea routes...and it's happening today."
The Port of Haifa is the largest port in Israel for shipping tourist cruise ships and the second largest for shipping containers.
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Prime Minister Netanyahu said the privatization of the ports and the entry of new investors strengthen the Israeli economy, reducing the cost of living and creating new import and export opportunities, as well as strengthening ties between India and Israel.
Adani Group plans to develop real estate at the port to transform the Haifa skyline. Adani Group has no holdings in the West, so its entry into Israel signals increased maritime traffic between Asia and Europe and the need for a Mediterranean hub among major Asian players. The acquisition of the Haifa port also comes with a significant amount of real estate, and Adani promised to transform the skyline in the coming years.
Adani Group has established many critical partnerships with companies such as Elbit Systems, Israel Weapon Systems, and Israel Innovation Authority in the last six years. The Adani Gadot partnership won an Israeli government tender to buy the Haifa Port in July of last year.
Adani expressed confidence in transforming the entire port landscape, stating that the Israeli spirit makes all the difference and his group aims to establish collaborative relationships with local colleges, such as the University of Haifa, to capitalize on the city's deep technology expertise.
"The acquisition of the Haifa port also comes with a significant amount of real estate. And I promise you that in the years to come we will transform the skyline we see around us," Adani said.
"The Haifa of tomorrow - will look very different from the Haifa that you see today. With your support - we will deliver on this commitment and do our part to transform this city. We realize that there will be competition from others, but our confidence comes from our belief in the people of Israel and therefore our belief in the Israel Growth story." "Our intention is to make the right set of investments that will not just make the Adani Gadot partnership proud but will make the whole of Israel proud," he added.
Adani said India-Israel friendship dates back to September 23, 1918, when soldiers from India fought for the freedom of Haifa. He stated that Israel has always motivated him, having rewritten the rules of what a country with a small population and few natural resources can achieve through its drive for innovation and focus on sustainable growth.