|Nahum Bitan (owner)|
Michael Luboschitz (CEO)
|Revenue||₪4.8 billion (2019)|
Number of employees
Yeinot Bitan (Hebrew: יינות ביתן, lit. Bitan's Wines) is a family-owned Israeli supermarket chain. Along with its own brand, it owns the Mega chain. As of 2019, Yeinot Bitan runs nearly 200 stores in Israel.
Yeinot Bitan traces its roots to 1982, when Nahum Bitan purchased a small alcohol store in Ashkelon, Israel. In 1995, Bitan purchased a disused movie theater and converted it into a supermarket. The business proceeded to acquire small supermarket chains Hyper Rama (Hebrew: היפר רמה) for ₪70 million, and Yad Yitzhak (Hebrew: יד יצחק) for ₪121 million, in 2006 and 2007, respectively, and after the purchases counted 11 branches throughout Israel. In 2012 Yeinot Bitan purchased yet another chain, Kim'at Hinam Stores (Hebrew: מחסני כמעט חינם), with 35 branches, more than the brand Yeinot Bitan itself, and a similar revenue. The acquisition, valued at ₪350 million, was made possible by a ₪50 million loan from the selling party, and Yeinot Bitan invested an additional ₪70 million to renovate Kim'at Hinam's branches.
On June 30, 2015, it acquired Mega (Hebrew: מגה), one of the largest and oldest supermarket chains in Israel, active in city centers, for ₪455 million. The chain had had about 120 branches, bringing Yeinot Bitan's total to over 180, and making it the second-largest in Israel by number of branches. This purchase included Mega's Haredi-oriented chain, Zol BeShefa (Hebrew: זול בשפע), later renamed Shuk Mehadrin (Hebrew: שוק מהדרין). In order to fund the acquisition, Yeinot Bitan sold real estate worth over ₪100 million and took on debt likely amounting to hundreds of millions from Bank HaPo'alim, Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot and Harel Group, among others. The joint chain was ordered by the Israel Antitrust Authority to sell multiple branches as a condition for approving the merger, but the chain failed to do so on time, and received a ₪26 million fine.
In 2017, the Yeinot Bitan brand (not including Mega) spun off its 23 city-center branches into a new branch, Yeinot Bitan in the City. The year 2017 proved difficult for the chain and its owners, having disagreements with suppliers, a branch closure due to sanitary problems, and liquidity issues, among others. That year, the chain's owner Nahum Bitan was investigated by the Israel Police for bribery vis-à-vis the mayor of Kfar Sava. He had previously been investigated for the same charge with the mayor of Ashkelon, but the charges had been dropped. In August 2019, Yeinot Bitan settled a class action lawsuit regarding the 2017 sanitary issues, which would see it provide discounts to all customers for a time.
2019 cash crunch
In September 2019, to deal with cash flow issues, Yeinot Bitan sold 7 branches, most of them in Tel Aviv, to Fresh Market. In October of the same year, five more branches were sold to Victory for ₪80 million. In January 2020, two further branches, including its branch at Jerusalem's Malha Mall, were sold to Victory.
Also in January, Yeinot Bitan announced a ₪500 million investment, not yet completed, from Klirmark Capital, a Tel Aviv-based private equity fund. In February, Nahum Bitan stepped down as CEO in favor of Michael Luboschitz, and the company committed to appointing a board of directors. These steps are believed to be linked to the investment.
Business and management
As of 2019, Yeinot Bitan was the third-largest supermarket chain in Israel by revenue and second biggest by number of branches, with 185 branches, ₪4.8 billion in revenue, and 8,200 employees. Its headquarters are in Rishon LeZion, Israel. It operates stores under multiple brands: Yeinot Bitan, Yeinot Bitan in the City, Mehadrin Market (geared at the Haredi public) and Mega BaIr.
Yeinot Bitan is run primarily by the Bitan family. Nahum Bitan heads the company, with his wife Nurit being co-owner. Nahum's brother Efi manages operations, his daughter Elinor is the legal adviser, and his son-in-law manages the import of household items. Yossi Bitan, Nahum's son, is deputy CEO.
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