Business in Brief

Nasdaq boost for Israeli companies, ICL gets told to clean up its act in Spain and IAI eyes $1.2 billion deal with overseas company.

Bloomberg

Six Israeli companies went public on Nasdaq in first half of 2014

Six Israeli companies have raised a combined $500 million in initial public offerings for trading on the Nasdaq stock market, compared with two companies and $77 million the same time in 2013, Nasdaq reported this week. The biggest of this year’s crop was Kite Pharma, a U.S.-Israeli company that raised $128 million last month. Another biomed company, MediWound, was close behind with a $106 million IPO in February, followed by the e-commerce company Borderfree with $92 million in March. Israeli companies are following the resurgence of the U.S. IPO market, where the number of companies going public rose 57% in the first half to 99 companies, raising $8.8 billion. Asaf Homossany, Nasdaq’s director for Israel, said he expected the momentum to continue in the second half of this year.

Court presses ICL Spanish unit on waste mountain

Israel Chemicals’ Spanish unit, Iberpotash, has been ordered by the High Court of Justice of Catalonia to prepare a plan for rehabilitating a mountain of waste that has grown beside the company’s Sallent potash mine by 2035. The court also told Catalonian authorities to significantly increase the performance guarantee Iberpotash must pay to ensure completion of the work to 6.9 million euros ($9.4 million), from the 585,000 euros the company was originally supposed to put up as a deposit. The mountain of waste has accumulated from salt residue generated by the potash production process at the mine, which ICL plans to close and merge with its Soria mine. The decision comes a week after Iberpotash signed a memorandum of understanding with AkzoNobel to make and market vacuum salt and white potash. ICL shares rose 0.9% to 29.25 shekels ($8.55) in Tel Aviv.

IAI in talks for $1.2 billion contract

Israel Aerospace Industries is negotiating the sale of $1.2 billion in electronic systems to an unidentified foreign customer, the state-owned company said in a short Tel Aviv Stock Exchange announcement Sunday. If IAI wins it, the contract will be for a five-year period and appears to include advanced radar systems. IAI released the announcement shortly after another one forecasting negative cash flow from operations for the second quarter, ended June 30, citing a delay in payments it is owed from the Defense Ministry. The firm said the ministry owes it some $250 million, compared with $175 million at the end of the first quarter. As a result, IAI expects its negative cash flow for the quarter to be similar to the first quarter of the year.

Shares extend gains despite analysts’ warnings

Tel Aviv shares rose again Monday as analysts warned against excessive bullishness. “The move from depression to mania in the Israeli market looks to me to be excessive and has no basis in any improvement in the security situation, the local economy or in publicly traded companies,” said Ilan Artzi, head of investments at the Halman-Aldubi Group. Nevertheless, the TA-25 index ended up 0.4% at 1,395.52 points while the TA-100 added 0.5% to 1,256.51, on turnover of 934 million shekels ($272.9 million). Energy shares were given a strong boost after UBS raised its target prices for the Leviathan partners, a day after estimates for the size of the natural gas field were boosted 16%. Avner closed 1.4% higher at 3.56 shekels, leaving a lot of upside to its new UBS target of 4.27. Delek Drilling rose 2.2% to 19.92 shekels versus a target of 23.80, while Ratio advanced 1.8% to 51 agorot, with a target of 76 agorot.