Business in Brief

Prospects for Spacecom sale dim, Arava and Phoenix win auction for solar farm, Markstone reports negative return for 2013, Kadimastem in MS pact with Merck, Dip in Gaza fighting keeps TASE steady.

Arava Power

Prospects for Spacecom sale dim
The sale of Spacecom, the operator of the Amos satellites, to Spain’s Hispasat is looking increasingly unlikely after Israel’s Communications Ministry imposed tough regulatory requirements on the sale. The unspecified regulatory issue marks a second setback for Shaul Elovitch, whose Eurocom group has been in talks for six months to sell its 64.4% stake. The two sides failed to agree on a price so the two agreed that Hispasat would make a general offer for the publicly traded shares in Spacecom at their Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-traded market price, with an as-yet-to-be-decided bonus to be paid within three to four years, based on Spacecom’s future performance. Spacecom shares ended up 0.6% at 50.73 shekels on Sunday. (TheMarker)

Arava, Phoenix win auction for solar farm
Arava Power Company together with Phoenix Insurance and Finance, have reportedly won an auction to buy 12 solar-energy farms from the Azrieli Group’s Supergas unit. They agreed to pay 175 million shekels ($51.2 million) and assume 300 million shekels of debt. The bid was tens of millions of shekels higher than those of businessman Mikhail Mirilashvili, Eurocom Group ‘s Enlight Energy, the Aspen group and the Helios fund. Arava Power, which is owned by Kibbutz Ketura, Siemens of Germany and Phoenix, has been granted licenses for 12 mid-sized solar power installations totaling 68 megawatts, thus this current deal is a significant boost for it. Azrieli Group, which told the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange the auction had not been completed, ended down 0.3% at 111.30 shekels. . (Michael Rochvarger)

Markstone reports negative return for 2013
Markstone Capital Group, the financially troubled private equity fund, said in a belatedly published 2013 financial report last week that it had a negative internal rate of return of 17.4% last year. The fund didn’t include figures for the first half of this year, but it reported developments, including continued efforts to sell its 23.2% stake in the Psagot investment house to the Apax fund for between 500 million shekels and 550 million shekels ($146.2 million to $160.8 million) and to take public the jewelry chain Magnolia, after repaying a high-interest loan of $16.5 million. It estimated Magnolia is worth $66 million. (Michael Rochvarger)

Kadimastem in MS pact with Merck
Kadimastem said Sunday it signed a collaboration agreement with the U.S. pharmaceuticals giant Merck to carry out drug screening for multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. Kadimastem will employ technology it has development to differentiate certain stem cells to find those that could be used to treat the conditions. “The fact that we recently signed a drug screening contract with another pharmaceutical giant is an indication of the scientific merit and maturity of our technology,” said CEO Yossi Ben-Yossef. Merck will pay Kadimastem an initial fee and milestone payments in the future, but declined to disclose the amounts. Kadimastem finished up 18.3% at 3.72 shekels ($1.09) in Tel Aviv. (Yoram Gabison)

Dip in Gaza fighting keeps TASE steady
Tel Aviv shares got come relief from Wall Street on Sunday after reports that Israel was winding down Operation Protective Edge. After starting lower the TA-25 index steadied to end virtually unchanged at 1,392.98 points. The TA-100 index also finished with a razor-edge gain of 0.4% to 1,246.63 on turnover of 352 million shekels ($102.9 million). The bond market continued to post sharp gains, with the government’s 10-year shekel bond advancing 0.39% to cut the yield to 2.72%. Its inflation-linked bond due in 2023 rose 0.26% to a yield of 0.62%. TowerJazz finished 2.78% up at 36.50 shekels after Ascendiant said second-quarter revenue should come “nicely above the firm’s guidance” of $230 million. Delek Auto rose 2.5% to 36.79 shekels after saying it expected to earn a 250-million-shekel pre-tax profit on the sale of shares in Mobileye. (Eran Azran)