Zap forms joint venture price-comparison site in South Africa

Zap, a price-comparison site, said yesterday it is making its first foray outside its Israeli home base with a joint venture in South Africa. Zap, formely known as Golden Pages, will join forces with Trudon to develop a comparison site to be called compare,.co.za based on Zap's Israeli platform. "The digital consumer revolution that Zap Group created in Israel is a successful model for the entire world. South Africa is the first to adopt the Israeli model and we are examining cooperation with aother companies overseas," said Zap CEO Nir Lampert. (Amir Teig )

IATA says Israel should help its airlines more

The International Air Travel Association, the global aviation industry organization, said the Israeli government must help the country's airlines increase their contribution to the economy. "If the government would only help the industry more, we could perhaps reach 5% or 6% of gross domestic product, a similar level to countries where regulators understand the contribution of the industry to economic development," IATA Israel CEO Kobi Zussman said in a letter to members. He said the aviation industry now accounts for only 1.4% of GDP. (Zohar Blumenkrantz )

$100m Samsung fund to invest in Israel, U.S.

South Korea's Samsung said this week it is launching a $100 million venture capital fund to invest in early-stage high-tech start-ups that will invest in just three places around the world, one of them Israel. The other two are California's Silicon Valley and Massachusetts. The Samsung Catalyst Fund will operate out of the company's research and development centers in the three areas to create new business, undertake strategic investments, engage in strategic cooperation and buy companies. It will also help start-ups in areas like cloud computing and man-machine interface by giving them access to Samsung R&D, marketing and branding resources, the company said. (Orr Hirschauge )

Super-Pharm sales rose in 2012 but profits fell

The Super-Pharm drugstore chain, controlled by the Koffler family and Leumi Partners, finished 2012 with NIS 3.9 billion in sales, 6% more than the previous year (and 3% more in same-store sales ). But intense competition with discount chains cut into profitability by pushing prices further down for the fourth straight year. They dropped an average of 2% in 2012 after falling 4.3% in 2011. The price of disposable diapers, for instance, fell 6.2% last year, after declining 11.4% the previous year. Prices were also sharply lower for baby formula, cleaning products and toiletries. (Adi Dovrat-Meseritz )

Midroog says NIS 28.5b of bond holdings ensnared in restructuring

Corporate bonds worth some NIS 28.5 billion have either undergone debt restructuring or are currently in the process, according to data presented yesterday by credit rating agency Midroog at a conference hosted by BDO Ziv Haft. This represents 15% of the NIS 189 billion worth of publicly traded corporate bonds in Israel, not including those issued by banks or insurance companies. About NIS 12.5 billion of the public's savings is now undergoing some kind of restructuring, according to the data. Another NIS 7 billion to NIS 13 billion in bonds could be headed toward default in the short term, according to Shaul Ben Shimol, head of corporate debt at BDO. Shimol based his predictions on the high yields at which they are currently trading. (Eran Azran )