Business in Brief

Labor strife at Israel Chemicals, Noble Energy CEO warns about delays, Borderfree expected to sell shares, Can-Fite Biopharma places $5m in equity with U.S. institutions and Tel Aviv shares end high.

Labor strife at Israel Chemicals worsens
Labor disputes at Israel Chemicals grew worse yesterday as unions ordered workers to stop processing export orders, widening a slowdown that began at the start of the week. “All plants are idling,” Avner Ben Senor, said chairman of the workers’ committee at ICL’s Bromine unit. Unions escalated their sanctions after management threatened a lockout amid a dispute over the company’s cost-cutting measures, including layoffs of 127 employees at its Rotem Amfert unit and another 500 to 600 through early retirement elsewhere in the company, which employs 5,000 people. Unions claim some 1,000 employees will be let go as ICL moves production overseas. ICL shares closed 0.2% lower at 31.55 shekels ($9.02) in Tel Aviv. (Hila Weissberg)

Noble Energy CEO warns about regulatory delays
Charles Davidson, CEO of Noble Energy, warned yesterday that government delays in establishing regulations for the natural gas industry are holding up development of the giant Leviathan field. “Projects of this scale require certainty — certainty of policy, and of all the aspects that go along with it. That’s the most important thing,” he told the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Conference in Tel Aviv. He promised more exploration as the region becomes an energy export power. “There are more opportunities to come, and [these opportunities], such as Leviathan, are of a scale that will require more than just domestic markets,” he said. Gidon Tadmor, CEO of Avner, Noble’s Israeli partner in the Leviathan field, said the crisis in Ukraine may open up opportunities for Israel and the region as Europe seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian gas. (Avi Bar-Eli) 

Borderfree expects to sell shares at up to $16 in IPO
Borderfree, the U.S.-Israel startup that provides cross-border sales services to online retailers, aims to raise as much as $80 million in an initial public offering on Wall Street, according to a prospectus it filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission yesteday. Borderfree will be pricing the offering of 5 million shares at between $14 and $16 in an IPO that values the company at as much as $488 million. Underwriters have an over-allotment option that could expand the IPO by another 75,000 shares, the prospectus said. It showed that Borderfree boosted 2013 revenues by 36% to $110.5 million, but higher operating costs left the company $654,000 in the red after a $192,000 net profit in 2012. Its biggest shareholders – the Pitango, Delta and Adams Street venture capital funds – will remain major shareholders after the IPO. Shares will trade on Nasdaq. (TheMarker Staff)

Can-Fite places $5 million in equity with U.S. institutions
Can-Fite BioPharma, which is developing anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer drugs, raised $5 million in a private placement completed on Monday with a group of 16 U.S. institutional investors, including Capital Ventures International. Although the company is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, it told TheMarker it has not yet notified the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of the fundraising. The company issued 982,344 American Depositary Shares for $5.15 each and warrants to purchase 491,172 ADSs at an exercise price of $6.43 each, which effectively valued them at a $1.72 each, or a 40% discount to the Israeli share price, which closed down 0.6% at 9.80 shekels ($2.82) on Tuesday. (TheMarker Staff)

Tel Aviv shares end higher, boosted by telecoms
Shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange ended higher yesterday, led by rallying telecommunications stocks. The benchmark TA-25 index closed up 0.3% for the day at 1,371.22 points while the TA-100 finished 0.5% higher at 1,272.66, on turnover of 1.18 billion shekels ($340 million). Bezeq led telecommunications shares higher, ending at 5.66 shekels for a gain of 2.4% for the day. Its paren’t company B Communications rose 3.2% to a 49.32-shekel close while Cellcom Israel finished up 1.9% at 45.40 shekels and Partner Communications added 1.1% to 30.65 shekels. Africa Israel Properties was the top gainer for TA-100 shares, rising 7% to close at 62.89 shekels The property developer said yesterday it had a 154,2 million-shekel profit last year, turning around from a loss of 325.9 million shekels in 2012. (Shelly Appelberg) 

Hagai Fried