David Zaken
Banks Supervisor David Zaken Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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* Investors shrug off banks reform: Bank shares did perfectly well on Monday and opened Tel Aviv trading with gains on Tuesday, despite the supervisor of banks filing recommendations for reforms to encourage competition. Banks analyst Alon Glazer shrugged that Supervisor David Zaken's plan is a far cry from the revolution that washed over the cellular sector, where mobile operators' stocks lost up to 90% of their value as cut-throat competition ensued. The Zaken committee had concluded that small businesses and households were the main victims of the insular banking system: They pay the highest interest rates despite being the safest borrowers. Glazer adds that he doesn't see any particular damage to any particular bank from Zaken's reform.

* Economists lowering inflation forecasts: The Bank of Israel says the average 12-month inflation forecast among economists, banks and investment banks has dropped to 1.9%, and that's far from the bottom of the range. IBI Investment House's chief economist Rafi Gozlan sees 12-month inflation at just 1.3%, he wrote in his weekly macroeconomic review Sunday. Even the average forecast would place inflation at its lowest since 2009. Just three months ago the average 12-month inflation forecast had been 2.6%.

* Maariv facing big writedown: Given its sorry financial condition, Maariv Holdings may have to substantially mark down the value of its fixed assets and goodwill. That would naturally impact its parent company Discount Investment Corp, a member of Nochi Dankner's IDB conglomerate, which will have to book a loss on its investment in the publishing company. From mid-2001 Discount Investment has invested about NIS 300 million in Maariv, through buying shares and debentures, and owner's loans; all that could be lost.

* Israel Corp selling solar ops to Sunflower: The Israel Corporation, which is controlled by the Ofer family, is exiting from solar power in Israel, held through subsidiary ICG Green Energy. The putative buyer for Israel Corporation's two solar-power plants is the Tel Aviv-listed company Sunflower, for NIS 48 million.

* IDB group jettisoning exec jet: Nochi Dankner's IDB group is putting its private jet on the block. The 12-seat Bombardier Challenger 604 was bought third-hand in February 2008 for $26 million, apparently the same figure as the conglomerate's current asking price. The IDB group is one of Israel's biggest conglomerates, with a presence in most business sectors. Like the other big business groups, it has been deleveraging, in part to assuage investor concerns about the quality of its debt. Flight time for the plane costs about $6,000 an hour. A crew was hired at the time the plane was purchased: It costs $1,800 to $2,700 to put them up for the night when traveling overseas.

* Ormat signs $61m deal with Enel: Geothermal power company Ormat Technologies says its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ormat Nevada, has inked a $61.4 million engineering, procurement and construction contract with Enel Green Power North America. The Israeli company will be providing two home-developed energy converters for Enel's geothermal power plant project in Cove Fort, Utah.

*Somebody likes Spacecom: Tel Aviv-listedSpacecom on Monday reported expanding a service contract with an existing customer by NIS 25 million. The company, which provides satellite communication services, says the contract with the client is now worth about NIS 135 million. Service to the client is provided from the Amos 5. IBI communications analyst Uri Licht groused that he'd rather see a nice contract with a new client for Amos 5 than a bigger deal with an old one, but any contract news is good news.