Business in Brief

ICL braces for final Shehshinski on Monday; Protalix gains on Ebola connection; PolyPid plans $24 million Wall Street IPO; Shares end unchanged after holiday break.

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ICL braces for final Sheshinski on Monday
Israel Chemicals’ annual royalties to the government will likely rise by 500 million shekels ($134 million) annually, under revised recommendations the government’s Sheshinksi committee is due to present to the treasury on Monday. While that would be more than double the 480 million shekels the company paid in 2012, it would nevertheless present a softening of the terms the panel proposed in its interim report earlier this year, which were strongly opposed by ICL. One of the concessions Sheshinki had made as result is that the windfall profit tax will be when operating margins exceed 13%, rather than 11% as originally proposed. In addition, the tax will be progressive rather than set at a flat 42% rate. All told, the new rules, if adopted, would increase the state’s take of ICL profits to between 46% and 57%, including the corporate income tax. An ICL executive told TheMarker on Sunday he was concerned that the final recommendations would amount to little more than “cosmetic” but in the end the company would be paying among the highest taxes and fees anywhere in the world. Shares of ICL ended 0.5% at 25.52 shekels on Sunday. (Ora Coren)

Protalix gains on Ebola connection
Protalix share have jumped close to 154% in the past two trading days on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange amid speculation that its technology could be used to make a drug for fighting the deadly Ebola virus. But the company has no Ebola-related business plans and at least one analyst who covers the company doesn’t put much store in the rally. “To me all that is hype,” Difei Yang, a New York-based analyst at R.F. Lafferty who covers Protalix, told Bloomberg News. “Just to make a drug is not as simple as what he says. It takes a year’s worth of development.” Investor’s, however, are intrigued by Protalix’s ability to extract medication from tobacco plants, from which the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp is drawn. ZMapp has shown signs of efficacy against Ebola in animal tests and was given to some health workers on a trial basis, but supplies ran out in August. On Sunday, Protalix shares ended up 6.6% at 9.49 shekels ($2.54) in Tel Aviv. (TheMarker Staff)

PolyPid plans $24 million Wall Street IPO
PolyPid, a Peth Tikva-based biotech startup developing an antibiotic coating for bone repair, filed last week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $24 million in an initial public offering in New York. BonyPid-1000 and BonyPid-500, the two flagship drugs the company is developing, prevent bacterial infection from developing around implanted bone substitutes and dental implants by coating them with an antibiotic based on its proprietary Polymer-lipid encapsulation matrix, or Plex, drug-delivery technology. The company hopes to launch both drugs in Europe in the second half of 2017 and then move on to the U.S. market. PolyPid, which initially filed confidentially on July 8, was founded in 2008 and lost $2.4 million on an operating basis in the first half, up from a full-year loss of $3.6 million last year. It plans to list on the NASDAQ under the symbol PLPD. Aegis Capital is leading the offering, whose pricing hasn’t yet been disclosed. (Dror Reich)

Shares end unchanged after holiday break
Tel Aviv shares ended the first day of trading after a long Simchat Torah holiday weekend almost unchanged. The benchmark TRA-25 index edged up 0.02% to 1,433.48 points while the TA-100 added 0.15% to 1,279.23, on thin trading of 591 million shekels ($158.4 million). Despite the market’s lackluster performance Sunday, Amit Rosenzweig of Halman Aldubi said low interest rates – a trend confirmed by the surprise 0.3% drop in the September consumer price index reported last week – should push share prices higher going forward. “Because of continued expansionary monetary policy in the local market, money will keep being directed to the share market,” he said. Among blue chips, Teva Pharmaceuticals rose 1.6% to a close of 190.40 shekels and Bank Hapoalim advanced 1.2% to 20.26, but Delek Group lost 1.2% to end at 1,339. Perion Network jumped 5.4% to a close of 20.95. (Dror Reich)