Business in Brief

TASE breaks records over Ukraine truce; IDB Development CEO could be on way out; U.K. court backs Teva version of lung drug; Employers giving fewer gifts this Rosh Hashanah; Lapid ups import quotas for eggs, honey.

Ofer Vaknin

TASE breaks records over Ukraine truce
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange hit an all-time high during trading yesterday, as reports of a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia pushed the blue-chip TA-25 index to 1,428 points during the day. The TA-25 ultimately closed with gains of 0.2%, at 1,421 points, while the broader TA-100 index gained 0.4% to close at 1,285 points. The Banks-5 index retreated 0.7%, while the Real Estate-15 index gained 1.3%. Biomed shares gained 1%. Total turnover was 1.33 billion shekels, above the recent average. Notable shares included Israel Petrochemical Enterprises, which gained 50% after announcing it would be selling some of its shares in the Haifa Oil Refineries in order to cover operating expenses, while Africa Israel gained 5.7%, Alon Blue Square gained 6.2% and Perion gained 3.7%, as competitor Babylon shot up 11%. (Shelly Appelberg)

IDB Development CEO could be on way out
IDB Development CEO Haim Gavrieli, the right-hand man of IDB’s former controlling shareholder Nochi Dankner, may be on his way out: The IDB board is reportedly looking into finding a replacement. IDB, now under the ownership of Moti Ben-Moshe and Eduardo Elzstain, is drafting its compensation package for its CEO, who is likely to continue receiving 3 million shekels a year. Management is planning to merge the staff at IDB Development and subsidiary Discount Investment. (Michael Rochvarger)

U.K. court backs Teva version of lung drug
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said Britain’s High Court had handed down a positive judgment regarding its case against a patent for AstraZeneca’s Symbicort lung drug. Teva said it had already launched its dry powder inhaler, DuoResp Spiromax, in Britain on Monday — before the court ruling — but the verdict minimized any risks associated with the launch. AstraZeneca said in a statement it disagreed with the ruling and would seek leave to appeal. Teva’s version of the drug has already been launched in Germany, Denmark and Portugal and the British court ruling will facilitate its sale in other European markets, the company said yesterday. (Reuters).

Employers giving fewer gifts this Rosh Hashanah
Some 29% of companies in Israel don’t intend to give their employees a gift for the Jewish new year due to their financial state, according to a survey by Oketz Systems. This means 9% fewer workers will be receiving a gift this holiday than for Rosh Hashanah 2013. Most of the companies that won’t be giving gifts are small firms with 100 employees or fewer. However, the trend is increasing among larger companies as well — those with 100 to 500 employees — found Oketz in its survey of 265 employers. Gifts are likely to be worth an average of 13% less than last year. Workers in the finance sector can expect the most generous gifts, worth an average of 408 shekels, versus 490 shekels last year. High-tech employees are next, with gifts worth 252 shekels apiece. Employers are not required to give holiday gifts by law, unless workers at a specific workplace have it written into their contracts. (Haim Bior)

Lapid ups import quotas for eggs, honey
Importers can import another 100 million eggs, 750 tons of honey and 1,700 tons of milk powder without paying import duties, under an order signed by Finance Minister Yair Lapid yesterday. Most of the eggs are likely to be imported from Turkey. Importers already exhausted the previous egg import quota of 150 million eggs. Israel was likely to be facing a honey shortage by the end of the year, the Finance Ministry stated.
(Ora Coren)