Roundup / Tax dodger, repent! You have until Yom Kippur
Sde Dov airport is here to stay, brave investors might like Israeli banks, open shorts on a steep climb.
Dear tax dodger: You have until Yom Kippur to repent and amend your evil ways, and reveal your overseas assets to Israel's Tax Authority. In a month's time, which falls right after the Day of Atonement, the Tax Authority is ending its amnesty program and will start wielding its usual weapons – interest on due tax, fines, linkage and even the hoosegow. Note ye that in recent years the Tax Authority has been reaching information-sharing deals with its counterparts in other countries, which makes it easier for the taxman to track down assets held outside Israel. Assets, by the way, include bank accounts and deposits, property, inheritances and the like. Currently, an Israeli resident with assets abroad can contact the Tax Authority anonymously, listing the assets and asking for a tax appraisal. Armed with that information, the person can decide whether to comply with the law or to continue hiding the assets and hope for the best. The taxman says it's received hundreds of such anonymous assessment requests.
Tel Aviv's Sde Dov airport is here to stay: The state may have declared time and again that the tiny city airport of Sde Dov, between Tel Aviv and Herzliya, will be relocated. But if you live in one of the buildings that have sprouted up by the site, you'd better get used to planes continuing to shave your home as they take off or land. In its approval for a vast new construction plan (known fondly as "Plan 3700" though it actually includes 12,000 housing units), the greater Tel Aviv district planning committee explicitly writes that "evacuation of the airport is nowhere in sight.” By the way, the Tel Aviv Master Plan for 2025 completely ignores the site of the airport, merely calling it an area to be planned some day.
Feel the fear and buy back stocks? It isn't advice for the faint of heart, but Adi Scop, banks analyst at IBI Investment House, likes Israeli bank shares. The negative sentiment has sent the stocks reeling, he points out. "In our opinion an opportunity has been created for investors who want to take advantage of the fear and buy against the consensus," Scop writes in a review ahead of the banks' second-quarter financial statements. Postulating that the worst of the hit to their profits is behind them, he rates banks Hapoalim, Leumi and Discount at Buy. So far this year the banks index on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange has lost 25%.
Ornim Medical raises $20 million: Israeli medical-technology company Ornim Medical has wrapped up a $20 million second financing round led by the Israeli fund Orbimed, joined by GE and the AgateMedical Investments group of funds. In its first round Ornim had scored $15 million. The company is developing non-invasive monitoring technology to continuously measure oxygen levels and blood flow in the brain (and elsewhere). Its flagship product, the alluringly named CerOx 3210F, which uses ultrasound and infrared scanning technology, received American marketing approval a year and a half ago.
Somebody's expecting a crash: Open shorts on the benchmark Tel Aviv-25 index shot up 40% at the end of last week to NIS 1.2 billion. Possibly the chatter about war between Israel and Iran has unnerved the investment community; possibly also the fresh worries about the state of the so-called tycoons shattered their remaining resolve. Shorting the market (or a specific financial asset) is betting that it will fall. The steepest climb in shorts was on food maker Strauss Group, with week-to-week increase of 140%. In second place among shortists was Paz Oil (103%) then Oil Refineries (95%). Open short positions on oil explorer Isramco climbed 81%.
With reporting by Hila Raz, Nimrod Bousso, Eran Azran and Shelly Appelberg
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