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Connex operataor buys 30 buses to meet demand in Ashdod, Tiberias

Bus operator Connex has bought 30 new buses for NIS 30 million. Connex, which runs bus routes in Tiberias and Ashdod and the intercity link between Ashdod and Tel Aviv and the coastal plains, said the purchase came as a result of a 40 percent surge in passenger traffic in Ashdod and a 70 percent leap in Tiberias. Connex is part of the multinational firm Veolia, which operates 20,000 buses worldwide, including 100 locally, as well as taxis and trains. The company was a member of the winning consortium for the Jerusalem light rail system, and is taking part in the upcoming tender to operate the Tel Aviv mass transit system. (Sharon Kedmi)

Union Bank reports net profits steady at NIS 18 million in Q2

Union Bank (Bank Igud) yesterday reported netting NIS 18 million in the second quarter, an amount very close to the bank's first-quarter results. While Union's first-half profit of NIS 36 million was 200 percent higher than the parallel, its return of 6.5 percent, also better than the parallel, was below market average. Income from financing activities before provision for doubtful debt shot up 25 percent, to NIS 293 million, in the first half, while provision for doubtful debt dropped 17 percent, to NIS 83 million. (Shlomy Golovinski)

Givot Olam throws in towel at Meged 4; share drops 9 percent

The Givot Olam exploration company has stopped drilling at the Meged 4 site, the firm informed the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange yesterday. About 64 barrels of oil were produced during the test, but its flow ceased, and therefore, "horizontal drilling operations were halted and the equipment will be released." Company director Shmuel Becker agreed that the drilling had not yielded estimates that would lead to "any significance from the drill findings," and further decisions regarding the site would have to await international expert opinion. Givot Olam shares dropped 9 percent on the exchange yesterday after the announcement. (Tal Levy)

Windmill Hotel spat blows over

A long-standing dispute over the Windmill Hotel in Jerusalem has finally been concluded. Brokered by retired justice Theodor Or, the deal allows U.S. hotelier Henry Moskowitz to buy out the hotel's owners. The Cohen family established the three-star,130-room hotel in the verdant neighborhood of Rehavia in the 1980s, after which Moskowitz bought half of the business. Moskowitz already owns several hotels in Israel including the Kings in Jerusalem and the Metropolitan, Astor and Carlton in Tel Aviv. The Windmill is currently undergoing renovation and is scheduled to reopen in the coming months. (Anat Georgi)