Intel, Mobileye Plan Fleet of Self-driving Cars

Business in Brief | Bourse members back restructuring plan ■ Overseas coffee sales boost Strauss profits ■ TA-35 losing streak extends to 10th day

A Mobileye camera system that monitors speed limits and warns about potential collisions, October 14, 2015.
A Mobileye camera system that monitors speed limits and warns about potential collisions, October 14, 2015. AP / Carlos Osorio

Bourse members back restructuring plan

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s 22 members on Thursday approved plans to restructure the bourse into a for-profit company. The vote was a formality because under the reform legislation approved by the Knesset in February, the Israel Securities Authority can impose the restructuring. Nevertheless two members didn’t vote in favor – Bank Hapoalim abstained and Barclays failed to present a stand. The reforms require the TASE’s bank partners, who now control the bourse, to sell down their stakes to 5% within five years. ISA Chairman Shmuel Hauser, who has been spearheading the reforms, said he expected the banks to move faster to divest their stakes because they no longer control the TASE board, whose members will be named by an independent committee. Hauser said the reforms were already helping reverse a decline in trading volume and listings on the bourse. (Shelly Appelberg)

Overseas coffee sales boost Strauss profits

Boosted by coffee sales overseas, Strauss Group reported a 25% rise in second-quarter profit on Thursday. The maker of snacks, dairy products, chocolate and coffee said it earned 97 million shekels ($27 million), excluding one-off items, up from 78 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 5.6% to 2.04 billion shekels, also helped by strong growth in its water division. CEO Gadi Lesin estimated 2017 growth would be in the high double digits. Sales in Israel rose 3.4% to 737 million shekels, while global coffee sales climbed 14.8% to 833 million. “Our strategy is to gain market share and do better than the competition in Israel but the potential for growth is outside our home base,” Lesin told Reuters. He said Strauss had no plans to expand further globally but there was large potential for growth in coffee sales. Strauss shares ended 1.5% lower at 67.31 shekels. (Reuters)

Intel, Mobileye plan fleet of self-driving cars  

Fresh from completing its acquisition of Israel’s Mobileye, Intel said on Wednesday that it would build a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles for testing in the United States, Israel and Europe. The company said the first vehicles would be deployed later this year and that the fleet would eventually grow to more than 100. “Building cars and testing them in real-world conditions provides immediate feedback and will accelerate delivery of technologies and solutions for highly and fully autonomous vehicles,” said Amnon Shashua, a Mobileye founder due to become a senior vice president at Intel. The test vehicles will combine proprietary capabilities from Mobileye, a maker of anti-collision and self-driving technology, including computer vision, sensing, fusion, mapping and driving policy together with Intel’s open-compute platforms and expertise in data center and communication technologies. The fleet will include multiple vehicle brands and types. (TheMarker Staff)

TA-35 losing streak extends to 10th day

The TA-35 index chalked up a 10th straight day of losses on Thursday, weighed down by Teva Pharmaceuticals and bank shares. The blue chip index shed 1% to 1,363.50 points, while the TA-125 lost 1.1% to 1,234.61, in very heavy turnover of 2.47 billion shekels ($690 million). Teva lost another 4.4% to 62.78 shekels as the bloodletting from its second-quarter financial report marked its sixth day. Perrigo, however, surged 21.6% higher to 283.30 after it reported strong second-quarter results and raised its outlook. It also said it reached an agreement to sell its Israel Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient business for $110 million. Banking shares fell sharply for a second day, led by First International’s 3.6% drop to 62.04. Mizrahi Tefahot fell 2.45% to 62.40 and Leumi by 2% to 16.88. Ham-Let ended up 1.1% to 48.84 after it said it was doubling its China capacity by building a $15 million plant. The dollar weakened to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.600 shekels and in late trading fell further to 3.5843. (Shelly Appelberg)