Tel Aviv Stock Exchange
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Photo by Bloomberg
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Israel Corp. may sell up to 7% stake in Israel Chemicals, list its shares in New York

The Israel Corporation said yesterday it may sell up to 7% of its Israel Chemicals unit this year and register the shares for trading in New York. “The aim of the transaction is to increase flexibility in the company’s capital structure and to create an infrastructure to reduce the firm’s net debt,” Israel Corporation said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The shares would be either sold outright or offered in exchange for a loan against which the lender could sell or part of the stock. The move comes as Israel Corporation readies to list ICL shares on Wall Street to improve its access to foreign financial markets and pursue acquisitions more easily. Separately, ICL reported yesterday it earned $195 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, down from $247 million a year earlier, as revenue rose 9% to $1.42 billion. Israel Corporation edged up 0.7% to a close of 1,960 shekels ($566.50) in Tel Aviv while ICL dropped 1.8% to 29.57 shekels. (Eran Azran)

Apax planning new Israel mid-market fund

British private equity fund Apax Partners, whose holdings in Israel include the dairy giant Tnuva and Psagot Investment House, said yesterday it is planning a $500 million mid-market fund to invest in Israeli companies in the technology, telecommunication, health and consumer sectors. The new fund will target 10 deals of $25 million to $100 million, Nico Hansen, a partner at Apax, told a private equity conference in London. The money for the fund will come from local investors, he said. Hansen added that Apax’s global fund would continue to target deals of more than $200 million. (Reuters)

El Al Airlines trims its loss in the fourth quarter

El Al Airlines said yesterday that it slashed its losses in the final quarter of last year to $3.7 million, from $26.1 million a year earlier, helped by an increased passengers and cargo revenue. Revenue rose 8% to $499 million, as both passenger and cargo sales gained. Operating costs for the quarter costs rose 3.2 % to $429.7 million. During 2013, jet fuel costs edged up 0.7%. Outgoing CEO Elyezer Shkedy said the airline is continuing to take steps to deal with increasing competition, including the launch this month of a low-cost operator, UP, and the retiring of older aircraft. Shares of El Al rose 2.8% to close at 66 agorot in Tel Aviv. (Reuters)

Azrieli Group posts 10% increase in fourth-quarter net

Azrieli Group, the mall developer controlled by Canadian-Israel David Azrieli, said yesterday it earned 407 million shekels ($117.6 million) in the fourth quarter, up 10% from a year earlier, boosted by a rise in income from office rentals. Funds from operations in its real estate business rose 9% in the quarter, to 198 million shekels, while net operating income, which reflects the group’s core business, edged up 1% to 278 million shekels. NOI from its Israeli  malls was flat while NOI from income-producing properties in the United States slipped 8%. It declared a dividend of 280 million shekels, or 2.31 shekels a share. Azrieli shares finished up 0.4% 116.80 shekels. (Reuters)

Tel Aviv shares extend gains after touching record

Tel Aviv shares continued climbing yesterday, a day after breaking new record highs. The benchmark TA-25 index rose 0.45% to a close of 1,385.73 points, while the broader TA-100 index added 05% to 1,282.16 points. Total turnover was 1.21 billion shekels ($350 million). Clal Biotechnology posted the biggest gain among TA-100 shares, adding 5.8% to close at 14.50 shekels and extending its rally from the day before on news its Gamida Cell unit might be sold for hundreds of millions of dollars. In a day studded with earnings announcements, Elbit Systems dropped 3.6% to a close to 207.90 shekels after it reported that  earnings fell to $1.26 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2013, excluding one-time items, down from $1.62 a year earlier. Paz Oil closed 1.2% lower, at 532.10 shekels, despite reporting a 14% rise in 2013 net profit, to 271 million shekels. Frutarom was also lower for the day, shedding 1.1% to 87.50 shekels even though it turned in a 28% increase in net to $67.5 million. (Eran Azran)