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Vegetables. Photo by Dan Peretz
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Gamida Cell sees StemEx approval only in 2014

Gamida Cell now sees the FDA approving its flagship product, the StemEx system to expand stem-cell lines, only in 2014. The company, which is controlled by Elbit Imaging and Clal Biotechnology, had originally foreseen the watchdog's nod next year, but it now projects it won't even be applying before the second half of 2013.

Tax collection falls short

Tax collection in January-July 2012 came to NIS 109 billion, which is NIS 3 billion short of the forecasts on which the 2012 budget was based. For June the treasury reported collecting NIS 16.4 billion, the lowest monthly figure since last October. The trend is worrying Jerusalem officials, not least because it portends a spiral in the deficit. Nor is tax collection likely to pick up later in the year, analysts warn, because of the slowing global economy. The treasury now suspects collection will come in at NIS 215-216 billion for the year, compared with the target of NIS 221 billion.

Yacimovich: Multinationals aren't beggars

Apropos of tax collection, opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich called on the attorney general to intervene and block the Finance Ministry's ruling on locked corporate profits. The treasury decided to impose a low tax rate on profits that multinationals expatriate from Israel, a decision Yacimovich says is illogical, especially given that the deficit is looming large and the treasury is scrambling for every shekel. Corporate tax is 25 percent; the applicable tax rate to the exported capital (which would be defined as dividends) is likely to be about 12 percent.

Bank Mizrahi chairman's bonus in danger

Most of the institutional investors are expected to oppose a bonus for Jacob Perry, chairman of Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot. The board had proposed awarding Perry NIS 1.1 million out of the bank's 2011 profits, which had grown 30 percent from the year before to NIS 1 billion, reflecting high return on equity of 14.6 percent. Mizrahi is the most profitable of Israel's banks in terms of RoE, this year at least, and Perry has chaired it since 2003 (half-time).  His wage cost came to NIS 1.4 million in 2011, not including awards. Despite the institutional opposition, his bonus will probably come through, though, thanks to votes from other shareholders.

Ben Gurion Airport getting new business lounge

Ben Gurion International Airport will be opening a new business lounge in August for first-class and frequent-flyer club members of foreign airlines. Before you applaud, keep in mind that the new lounge will be built on the spot formerly designated for a spa and gym, next to the synagogue.