Business in Brief: TASE to Launch Index of North American Real Estate Bonds

Gregory Gurtovoy faces indictment in connection with Willi-Food parent company | Fitness chain Holmes Places eyes September IPO | Tel Aviv shares rise moderately despite setbacks for drugs, energy

File photo: A man at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange
File photo: A man at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange BAZ RATNER/REUTERS

TASE to launch index of North American real estate bonds

An index of North American real estate companies whose bonds are traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange will begin trading July 16 after the exchange’s board of directors approved the measure. The Tel-Bond Global index initially comprises 25 bonds series from 11 issuers, with the New York property developer The Zarasai Group accounting for a weighting of more than 11%. “The index is focused on fixed-rate shekel bonds from foreign companies with no links to Israel and will offer added value that doesn’t exist with other Tel-Bond indices,” the TASE said. The bonds in the new index are relatively high yielding, paying 4.7% on an average term of 3.6 years and today have a combined value of 14.5 billion shekels ($4.1 billion). The index is restricted fixed-interest bonds with either an A-minus rating from Maalot Standard & Poor’s or a 3A rating from Midroog. No bond series can have a weighting exceeding 6%, the TASE said. (Eran Azran)

Gregory Gurtovoy faces indictment in connection with Willi-Food parent company

Gregory Gurtovoy, the Ukrainian oligarch who briefly controlled the Willi-Food business group, faces an indictment on charges he used $60 million of corporate funds to help a business ally with loans. A final decision hinges on a hearing for Gurtovoy, who investigators allege deposited money belonging to BGI, a Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-traded company that controls food importer Willi Food, in banks accounts in Austria and Azerbaijan to serve as collateral for loans taken out by fellow Ukrainian Alexander Granovsky. Granovsky acquired Willi Food in 2013 and sold it to Gurtovoy two years later, but investigators believe the two acted together all that time, misleading the company’s board. The allegations were first revealed by TheMarker a year ago. “This is a serious and complex case with multiple suspects who acted with great sophistication while camouflaging the extensive fraudulent activity over several years,” the Tel Aviv Prosecutors Office and Israel Securities Authority said in a joint statement. (Eran Azran

Fitness chain Holmes Places eyes September IPO

Holmes Place, the nationwide chain of fitness centers, will go public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange probably in September at a value of as much as 350 million shekels ($99.3 million), TheMarker has learned. Green Lantern Fund, the private equity investors that controls 30% of the chain, is preparing the initial public offering based on first-half financial reports. With 32 centers around the country, Holmes Place expanded rapidly last year after it bought rival Go Active for 80 million shekels. It’s now setting its sights on the low-cost end of the market with a new sub-brand called Icon  and aims to open five centers under that name by the end of this year and another eight over 2018 and 2019. Icon centers will have just two employees and have less than half the 3,000 square meters of floor space ordinary Holmes Place centers have. Other shareholders are the Fisher family, who founded the business, with 38%, the investment arm of Bank Hapoalim and Moti Ben-Moshe, the Israeli-German entrepreneur. (Yoram Gabison)

Tel Aviv shares rise moderately despite setbacks for drugs, energy

Tel Aviv shares rose moderately on Sunday even as drug and energy stocks took a beating. The blue chip TA-35 index ended 0.1% up at 1,452.31 points, while the TA-125 added 0.3% to 1,287.27, with 765 million shekels ($217 million) in shares changing hands. Teva Pharmaceuticals led drug stocks down, falling 1.7% by close to 109.70 shekels after climbing 8.5% the week before. Mylan dropped 1.4% to 129.30 after the U.S. approved Adamis Pharmaceuticals’ generic version of Mylan’s  EpiPen,  its best-selling treatment for allergies. Among energy shares, Delek Drilling pulled back 2.3% to 13.33 and Isramco 1.9% to 54 agorot. Other losers included Mazor Robotics, which led TA-125 stocks down on a 9.1% decline to 55.50. Partner Communications, Israel’s second-largest mobile phone company, said on Sunday it raised 189 million shekels from a public share offering. Carasso Motors will enter the TA-90 after it completed a 320 million shekel sale of shares to institutions. (Guy Erez)