Business in Brief

Foreign investors stumped up a net $1.6 billion in TASE-traded stocks in 2013, mainly in pharmaceutical, bank and communications companies.

Foreign investment in TASE increased fourfold last year

Foreign investors put nearly four times as much money in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-traded shares last year as they did in 2012, the Bank of Israel reported yesterday. Foreigners invested a net $1.6 billion in TASE-traded stocks, mainly in pharmaceutical, bank and communications companies – up from just $410 million the year before – although the rate of investment contracted over the course of 2013 to just $206 million in the fourth quarter. They invested another net $938 million in Israeli shares traded abroad in 2013, turning around from net selling of $123 million the year before. However, the central bank said that foreigners were net sellers of bonds traded on the TASE to the tune of $2.1 billion last year, with most of the selling in the third quarter.

Psagot downgrades Leviathan shares after Woodside deal

Shares in the Leviathan gas field partners slumped yesterday, despite news that Australia’s Woodside had agreed to take a stake in the field. Noam Pincu, energy analyst at Psagot, said Woodside would provide the partners badly needed capital, as well as know-how to exploit Israel’s biggest natural gas reserve, saying the deal increases the field’s worth by 25%, to $6.5 billion. “Nevertheless, we believe that the market valuations of the shares today already accurately value Leviathan relative to the risks entailed,” he said, lowering his rating for Avner, Delek Drilling and Ratio to Hold. Ratio dropped 2%, Delek Drilling 1.6% and Avner 1.2%.

Histadrut rejects declaring labor dispute at El Al – for now

The Histadrut labor federation yesterday turned down a request by El Al’s workers committee to declare an official labor dispute, a move that would have entitled them to call a strike in as little as two weeks. Avi Edri, the union official in charge of transportation unions, said the negotiations with management should continue. “Even though the talks are deadlocked, they aren’t over,” he said. “Declaring a labor dispute has to be done through a vote by all the company’s workers in a secret ballot.” El AL shares rose 0.2% on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Skyline International plans Tel Aviv offering

Skyline International development, an Israeli company that develops and manages resorts and hotels in Canada, at the end of last week filed to issue shares for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The company did not say how much it was seeking to raise, but the Calcalist financial daily cited estimates of $50 million, at a $250 million company valuation. Skyline, which is majority owned by Mishorim Development, operates four resorts in Ontario, as well as hotels – among them Blue Mountain Villages and Deerhurst. Minority shareholders include Canadian institutional investors Dundee and Scotiabank.

Tel Aviv shares follow global markets higher

Tel Aviv shares ended moderately higher yesterday after global equity markets surged on Friday as investors set aside any fear of economic softness in a weak U.S. jobs report. The benchmark TA-25 and the broader TA-100 indices both closed about 0.2% higher, at 1,310.37 and 1,209.30 points, respectively. Turnover, however, was a very low 605.8 million shekels ($171.6 million). Biotech company Compugen led the gainers, advancing 7.9% two day before it is due to release fourth-quarter 2013 results. TowerJazz jumped 7.6% amid reports that the semiconductor maker might be sold to IBM. Perrigo led the decliners after releasing fourth-quarter earnings last week, dropping 3.6%. Investment house B. Riley lowered its rating for the generic-drug maker to a Neutral from a Buy, citing the stock’s valuation. Bond yields fell, with the government’s shekel bond due in 2023 rising 0.17%, to cut the yield to 3.52%.

Bloomberg
Offshore Leviathan natural gas drilling site.
Albatross