Business in Brief

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Yitzhak Tshuva, owner of the Delek Group. Credit: Emil Salman

Delek sells European filling station unit 
to British buyout fund

Two days after reaching an agreement to sell its U.S. insurance unit Republic Companies, Delek Group announced Thursday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding to sell its Delek Europe unit to the British private equity fund TDR Capital, for the equivalent of 1.7 billion shekels ($490 million). TDR, which will pay half in cash and finance the rest with a loan from Delek carrying interest of 5% annually, also assumed 365 million euro ($505 million) in debt carried by Delek Europe. The sale of Delek Europe, which operates 1,300 filling stations and convenience stores in France and other European countries, will have earned Delek Group a zero return for the seven years it owned the company, but fits in with the group’s new focus on energy exploration. Delek edged down 0.2% to a close of 1,415 shekels in Tel Aviv.

Teva reaches settlement with Pfizer on Celebrex

Teva Pharmaceuticals said Thursday that its U.S. subsidiary had reached a settlement with Pfizer over patents related to Teva’s generic version of Celebrex. The terms allow Teva to launch its generic versions of the blockbuster pain medication treatment in December 2014, or earlier under certain circumstances. The news comes more than a month after a U.S. court invalidated a patent covering the drug, giving Pfizer’s rivals, including Teva, a chance to sell generic versions of Celebrex, whose basic patent expires in May. Teva said it believes it is the first generic drugmaker to get approval from the United States for at least some versions of Celebrex, which will give it enhanced profits on its generic version of the drug. Celebrex racked up $2.2 billion in U.S. sales last year, according to IMS data. Teva ended down 0.7% to 173.30 shekels ($49.90) in Tel Aviv.

Biotech stocks lead Tel Aviv market lower

Tel Aviv shares ended their holiday-shortened trading week lower, as biotechnology shares extended their losses and tech heavyweights Google and IBM turned in disappointing earnings overnight. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s benchmark TA-25 index ended down 0.8% at 1,389.02 points, leaving it 1.7% lower for the week. The TA-100 lost 0.7% to finish at 1,261.85 – a loss of 2% for the week. With the trading day ending early and many market participants on holiday, turnover was just 563 million shekels ($162 million). The TA-Biomed index slid 1.5% to 321.35, with Protalix down 4.3% to a close of 14.34 shekels, Clal Biotechnologies off 4.2% to 11.40 shekels and Evogene down 4.1% to 59.73 shekels. In the fixed income market, the government’s 10-year shekel bond rose 0.11% to cut its yield to 3.34%, while its inflation-linked bond added 0.23% to a yield of 1.02%.

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