Roundup / EMA approves pineapple enzyme salve
IDB replaces IDB Holding debt for IDB Development debt; Zim gets poor marks; watchdog slams IDB execs; Dankner gets infusion, and new gas drilling starts off Israeli coast.
Europeans smile on pineapple-based burn treatment:In a rare coup, Mediwound has received the European Medicines Agency's recommendation to exclusively market its pineapple-based technology brand Nexobrid to treat second and third-degree burns in Europe. Nexobrid is a sterile gel containing enzymes produced from pineapple that degrade proteins. It debrides burned tissue, acting as a substitute for surgery. Mediwound is a portfolio company of Clal Biotechnology (47% at full dilution).
S&P Maalot reiterated a low "B" investment rating for Zim Integrated Shipping Serviceslast week, at the same time repeating a negative outlook. The credit rating agency is concerned about Zim meeting the liquidity requirements laid down by the banks. Support from parent company The Israel Corporation mitigates concerns to a degree, but that support was necessary because Zim was in effective default, say Maalot analysts. The rating isn’t based on the strength of the parent company, which has a blue-chip "A+" rating and stable outlook, because further support is in doubt, says the agency. On the upside, Maalot notes Zim's sheer size and diversification among clients and shipping lines; and its productions of positive EBITDA in the second quarter of 2012 after operating at a loss for two quarters.
It turns out the Phoenix insurance company has been steadily selling IDB Holding Corp bonds(at a loss) and buying bonds of that company's subsidiary IDB Development in recent months. Phoenix now has zero IDB Holding bonds and has become the biggest holder of IDB Development bonds – with have a par value of about NIS 350 million. Market animals say Phoenix decided to get out of IDB Holding well before the going-concern warning appeared in its financial statement for the second quarter of 2012. Note ye that Phoenix's losses in IDB Holding bonds depressed returns to savers in its profit-sharing insurance schemes.
IDB execs should give back illegal dividends, says former watchdog:The controlling shareholder of the IDB group – along with his partners – could face a derivative lawsuit by shareholders on behalf of the group. A law firm formulating the claim commissioned an opinion from none other than Yaron Zelekha, the only man in history to make being "accountant-general at the Finance Ministry" front-page news. The outspoken former official wrote: "The IDB Holding Corp. board of directors exercised unreasonable judgment in its decision to distribute gigantic dividends of NIS 1.8 billion in 2008-2010," thereby impairing the company's ability to meet its liabilities." He added that in effect, they reversed the hierarchy of shareholders versus bondholders and that the dividends served the controlling shareholders in a manner that contravenes the law.
Dankner gets lifeline from Elsztain:As last week came to a close, Jewish businessman Eduardo Elsztain signed a head of agreement in Buenos Aires to invest $25 million in Ganden, the private company through which Nochi Dankner owns his controlling shares in IDB Holding Corp. The money buys Elsztain about 10% of Ganden's shares, reflecting a company value of about a billion shekels for Ganden. Elsztain received an option to invest another $75 million in Ganden before year's end, which would bring his stake to 30%.
Myra who? ILD starts Sara drill:Last Thursday, the gas exploration partnerships ILD Energy and Modi'in began drilling at Sara, a deep-sea prospect in the Mediterranean seabed. They only recently formally confirmed that the Myra field is bone dry – as far as hydrocarbons, at least. Sara is right next to Myra. While Sara is projected to have maybe 42 billion cubic meters of gas with a geological probability of 43%, these figures are based on the same report that projected Myra would have gas.
With reporting by Noam Bar, Yoram Gabison, Itai Trilnick and Shelly Appelberg.