Business in Brief

U.S. probes Teva’s marketing of Copaxone; Givot Olam founder faces dismissal.

U.S. probes Teva’s marketing of Copaxone, Azilect

Teva Pharmaceuticals said Monday that the U.S. government is investigating its marketing of its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone and Parkinson’s disease treatment Azilect. The drug maker said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York wants it to provide documents related to the marketing of the drugs since January 1, 2006 as part of a civil investigation into possible violations of the False Claims Act, a law that allows the government to collect damages reported by private citizens. Citi Investment Research analyst Liav Abraham said the United States has been conducting more False Claims Act investigations of drug companies in recent years. She said it was hard to predict how long the inquiry might last. Teva shares were down 1% to $44.08 in New York in early afternoon trading. (AP)

Teva reports it paid $21.2m in compensation to top executives last year

The cost of compensation for the top executives at Teva Pharmaceuticals reached $21.2 million last year, the drug maker’s annual report, released Monday, revealed. Compensation costs for Jeremy Levin, who stepped down as CEO last October, came to $7.2 million. Compensation costs for Michael Hayden, Teva’s global research and development president, amounted to $3.2 million. Teva paid $197 million in taxes to the government in 2013, up from just $5 million the year before. Teva’s non-Israel subsidiaries ran up losses of $53 million while the parent company and its Israeli units had pre-tax profits of $1.3 billion, an indication of the company’s reliance on the multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone. (Yoram Gabison) 

Givot Olam founder and CEO faces dismissal

Tovia Luskin, who founded and has led Givot Olam for more than two decades, is about to be fired, the energy exploration partnership said Monday in a surprise announcement. It said Luskin, 63, had been called by the partnership’s management company for a pre-dismissal hearing, citing “differences of opinion and unsatisfactory job performance as CEO.” Givot said Luskin would stay on as manager of its drilling activities. The company is producing 40,000 to 50,000 barrels of oil a quarter at a site close to Rosh Ha’ayin, chosen on the basis of a passage from the biblical Book of Deuteronomy as well as geological findings. Shares of Givot Olam declined 2.6% to 4 agorot (1 cent). (Eran Azran)

Shekel gains on dollar for a second session

The shekel strengthened against the dollar for a second session running Monday, with the U.S. currency losing 0.23% to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.525 shekels. The euro gained the shekel, appreciating ing 0.23% to 4.8048 shekels. Pointing to data on the extent of its intervention last month, Yossi Fraiman, CEO of Prico Risk Management & Investments, said the Bank of Israel would not continue buying dollars to prevent the shekel from appreciating further and hurting exports. “”We believe that another appreciation in the shekel rate is just around the corner amid increased activity at the start of the calendar month by exporters and industrialists,” he said. (Haaretz)

TA-25 ends lower after four sessions of gains

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s TA-25 index broke a four-session winning streak Monday to end down 0.4% at 1,305.32 points in thin trading of just 978.5 million shekels ($278 million). The broader TA-100 index also lost 0.4% to close at 1,204.35. Insurance and property stocks led the way lower. The TA-Insurance index finished down 1.5% at 1,416.83 points, paced by a drop in Cal Insurance to 62.47 shekels. The TA-Real Estate-15 index lost 1.1% to close at 375.77, with Nitzba ending down 2.3% at 51.90 shekels. Israel Chemicals declined 2% to 29.57 shekels. The biotech company Compugen rallied for a second day, ahead of the fourth-quarter earnings report Monday, gaining 7% and bringing its year-to-date total to 44%. Other gainers included Spacecom, the operator of the Amos satellite, rising 3.5% to 67.21 shekels, and Delek Group, advancing 1.9% to 1,320 shekels. (Dror Reich) 

Teva's headquarters in Jerusalem.
Bloomberg