Alon Holdings Blue Square - Israel ltd. Announces Downgrade of Rating by Maalot and the Termination of Rating Agreement With Maalot

Oct 26, 2010, 12:30 ET from Alon Holdings Blue Square Israel Ltd

ROSH HA'AYIN, Israel, October 26, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alon Holdings Blue Square - Israel Ltd. (NYSE: BSI) (the "Company"), announced today that Maalot Ltd. (an Israeli rating agency owned by Standard & Poor's)("Maalot") issued an update to its rating of the Company's Series A and Series B debentures as well as the Series A and Series B debentures of Blue Square Real Estate Ltd., a corporation of which we held 78.50% of the outstanding shares as of [September 30, 2010] ("BSRE"), downgrading both ratings by two notches from "IlA+" to "IlA-". The Company previously announced on September 15, 2010 that Midroog Ltd., an Israeli rating agency and 51% subsidiary of Moody's ("Midroog"), applied the rating of "A1" for potential future issuances of up to NIS 500 million (approximately US$ 132.7 million) of debentures, and the application of an A1 rating to the Series A and B debentures issued by the Company in 2003. In addition, in July 2010, Midroog applied the rating of "A1" with a negative outlook for of BSRE's Series D debentures of up to NIS 110 million and also applied the A1 rating with negative outlook to the Series A, B and C debentures issued by BSRE in previous years.

An English translation of the Maalot report is being submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Form 6-K.

The Company also announced today that the company and BSRE terminated their rating agreements with Maalot and Midroog will be the rating agency that will continue to rate the Company's and BSRE's debentures in the future.

Alon Holdings Blue Square - Israel Ltd. (hereinafter: "Alon Holdings") is the largest retail group in the state of Israel. It operates in various segments: In its Supermarket segment it is a pioneer of modern food retailing in the region, and through its 100% subsidiary, Mega Retail Ltd., currently operates 206 supermarkets under different formats, each offering a wide range of food products, "Near Food" products and "Non-Food" products at varying levels of service and pricing. Alon Holdings holds 80% of TASE traded Dor Alon, one of the four largest fuel retail companies in Israel based on the number of fuel stations and a leader in the convenience store sector, Dor Alon holds a Chain of 186 fuel stations and 175 convenience stores in various formats throughout Israel. In its "Non-Food" segment, Alon Holdings, through its 100% subsidiary Bee Group Retail Ltd., operates specialist outlets in self operation and franchises and offers a wide range of "Non-Food" products as retailer and wholesaler. In its Real Estate segment, Alon Holdings, through its TASE traded 78.50% subsidiary Blue Square Real Estate Ltd., owns, leases and develops yield generating commercial properties.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may include, but are not limited to, plans or projections about our business and our future revenues, expenses and profitability. Forward-looking statements may be, but are not necessarily, identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "may," "anticipates," "estimates," "expects," "intends," "plans," "believes," and words and terms of similar substance. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual events, results, performance, circumstance and achievements to be materially different from any future events, results, performance, circumstance and achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to, the following: our ability to compete effectively against low-priced supermarkets and other competitors; the effect of the recession in Israel on the sales in our stores and on our profitability; quarterly fluctuations in our operating results that may cause volatility of our ADS and share price; risks associated with our dependence on a limited number of key suppliers for products that we sell in our stores; the effect of an increase in minimum wage in Israel on our operating results; the effect of any actions taken by the Israeli Antitrust Authority on our ability to execute our business strategy and on our profitability; the effect of increases in oil, raw material and product prices in recent years; the effects of damage to our reputation or to the reputation to our store brands due to reports in the media or otherwise; and other risks, uncertainties and factors disclosed in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including, but not limited to, risks, uncertainties and factors identified under the heading "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2009. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Except for our ongoing obligations to disclose material information under the applicable securities laws, we undertake no obligation to update the forward-looking information contained in this press release.


    Alon Holdings Blue Square-Israel Ltd.
    Elli Levinson-Sela
    General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
    Telephone: +972-3-9282670
    Fax: +972-3-9282498

SOURCE Alon Holdings Blue Square Israel Ltd