Business in Brief: Euro Makes Big Gains on Shekel as It Hits New High Against Dollar

SodaStream boosts quarterly net 84 percent but its shares turn lower ■ Boston property company Bullfinch eyes Tel Aviv bond issue ■ Pharmaceutical shares leads TA-35 to sixth straight day of declines

This picture shows the employees of SodaStream forming a peace symbol outside the company's plant in Israel. Feb. 29, 2016

Euro makes big gains on the shekel as it hits new high against dollar

The euro strengthened 1.4% against the shekel on Wednesday to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.2346 and showed further gains in late trading to 4.246 as the European currency climbed to a two-and-a-half-year high against the dollar. The dollar also gained on the shekel, albeit by a much more modest 0.6% to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.5790. In late trading it surrendered some of those gains and was at 3.5777. The dollar’s weakness this year has been fueled by growing pessimism about U.S. President Donald Trump’s stimulus plans and falling hopes about the extent of a Federal Reserve policy increase in the coming months. Against the euro the dollar has lost 5.5% since the start of July. But against the shekel, the dollar has shown unusual strength, advancing some 2% on the shekel. Dealers attribute shekel weakness to Bank of Israel and treasury intervention as well as unusually low local inflation. (Shelly Appelberg and Reuters)

SodaStream boosts quarterly net 84% but its shares turn lower

SodaStream turned in strong second-quarter results on Wednesday, but its shares were down sharply in New York. Net profit jumped 84% year-over-year, to $14.4 million, or 64 cents per diluted share, as revenue climbed 10% to $130.6 million. That beat Zacks consensus estimate for earnings of 51 cents and revenues of $129.2 million. “The strong momentum that we’ve recently experienced building a global sparkling water franchise continued into the second quarter,” said CEO Daniel Birnbaum. “Machine unit sales grew 35% year-over-year to 859,000. ... Gas refill units were up 10% to an all-time record of 8.3 million, which is a great indication that our user base is active and growing.” SodaStream said it expected full-year revenues to rise 10% from 2016, to $523 million. Manufacturing capacity in Israel has reached a ceiling and more production will be done abroad, Birnbaum said. SodaStream shares were down 4.9% at $54.56 early afternoon local time in New York. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Boston property company Bullfinch eyeing Tel Aviv bond issue

Another U.S. property development firm is on its way to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to take advantage of low Israeli borrowing costs. Bullfinch, a Boston company controlled by the Schlager family, is in early-stage talks with local underwriters about a bond issue, TheMarker has learned. The size of the issue, the assets that will be moved into the issuing company and the structure of the sale haven’t yet been determined. Founded in 1936, Bullfinch is focused on commercial real estate, including offices, medical centers and facilities for biotech and other high-tech companies. All told, it has about 280,000 square meters of property valued at about $1 billion. Leader Underwriting, a relative newcomer to managing U.S. bond issues, is expected to lead the sale. About 25 North American property companies have issued a combined 15 billion shekels ($4.2 billion) or so in debt. (Eran Azran and Michael Rochvarger)

Pharmaceutical stocks lead TA-35 index to sixth straight decline

Dual-listed pharmaceutical stocks pushed the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s TA-35 index into its sixth straight session of losses Wednesday. The blue chip index and the broader TA-125 each lost about 0.55% to end the day at 1,439.23 and 1,289.89 points, respectively, on turnover of 1.27 billion shekels ($350 million). Mylan led the declines in pharma shares, dropping 3.7% to 134.30 shekels. Teva Pharmaceuticals lost 3.4% to 111.30 and Opko Health fell 3.65% to 161. Nova fell 6.3% to 78.66, despite posting a 58% rise in second-quarter revenues. Bezeq group shares advanced, with Internet Gold up 4.6% to 25.47 and B Communications adding 2.2% to 53.05. Airport City gained 3.1% to 48.39 after Excellence set a target price of 58 shekels for the share. Delek Group said it was weighing an offer of preferred shares but provided no other details. It shares ended down 0.5% at 726. (Shelly Appelberg)