Women's coalition opposes scrapping retirement age

A coalition of women's organizations that includes Na'amat and six groups involved in economic and employment issues expressed its reservations Wednesday over a proposal to scrap the official retirement age. The elimination of the retirement age, which is currently 67 for men and 62 for women, was proposed by a number of academics and senior officials at the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry. Na'amat chairwoman Galia Wolloch expressed concern that scrapping the retirement age would hurt blue-collar workers and delay National Insurance old-age payments. The women's coalition is known in Hebrew as Shutfut Irgunei Hanashim ("The Partnership of Women's Groups"). (Haim Bior )

Clal Finance to sell its interest in Titanium Asset Management

Clal Finance, the investment firm owned by Clal Insurance, has signed a deal to sell its 51% interest in its Titanium Asset Management subsidiary in the United States to TAMCO Holdings, it was announced yesterday. TAMCO in turn is owned by senior executives and other employees of Titanium. Clal Finance is expected to get about $18.3 million, about NIS 70 million, on the sale of its interest in Titanium, but is expected to record a loss of about NIS 30 million when the deal is consummated. Clal Finance, of Nochi Dankner's IDB group, had been considered one of the most promising investment companies in the country, but a series of missteps at the firm led to a major drop in its value. The firm was delisted in 2011. (Michael Rochvarger )

Bank of Israel expected to raise 2013 growth outlook to about 3.5%

The Bank of Israel is expected to raise its 2013 growth outlook for the Israeli economy next week. It would follow a similar move on Monday by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, whose ministry revised its forecast for growth next year to 3.5% from 3.3%, and for the year after to 3.9% compared to the earlier forecast of 3.5% for 2014. The ministry said the prospect of natural gas production off Israel's coast will have a more major positive effect than earlier forecasts accounted for. The revised outlook by the Bank of Israel, which is released every three months, will be announced on Monday, along with the base interest rate for January. The expectation among Finance Ministry staff is that the central bank will revise its 2013 growth forecast to around 3.5%. (Moti Bassok )

November State of Economy index edges up just 0.1%

The Composite State of the Economy index rose in November by just 0.1%, the research department of the Bank of Israel reported, the same rate of increase for the index over the prior three months. The meager increase is an indication of slower growth in economic activity and also reflects the effects of the Israel Defense Force's Pillar of Defense operation in the Gaza Strip last month, which was accompanied by intense rocket fire into Israel. "The increase in the index reflects increases in the trade and services revenue index and in services exports (excluding tourism ), which were offset by declines in the manufacturing production index, the goods exports and goods imports indices, as well as tourism services exports," the central bank said. (Moti Bassok )

Teva drops plans to build Philadelphia logistics center

Teva Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday it had spiked plans to build a distribution hub in Philadelphia. The center was to comprise three buildings covering 100,000 square meters and employing 200 people. But the company is restructuring its operations under Carlo di Notaristefani, head of global operations, aiming to save up to $2 million a year in costs. At a presentation to investors last week, di Notaristefani commented that Teva would be focusing on "cost-effective locations." (TheMarker Staff)