Tnuva, Israel's largest food manufacturer, is finding it difficult to implement its policy to go public, in view of mounting objections by representatives of 620 moshavim and kibbutzim (cooperative settlements) who are Tnuva shareholders.

Tnuva has presented the Tnuva Council - which functions as the cooperative's board - with plans for an initial public offering, subject to the approval of the Council in May. The first stage will entail selling 20% stake to an investor, followed by selling additional 10% to the public.

Trade sources in Tel Aviv expect an overwhelming majority for the proposed privatisation of the country's foodstuffs giant, which registered in 2004 sales of NIS5.5bn (US$1.28bn), despite growing opposition from a large portion of dairy producers who are concerned over the implications on regulation. The sources added that the on-going delays in Tnuva's privatisation plans hamper the company's efforts to find an international strategic partner.