Business in Brief

MediWound enjoys a great Nasdaq launch, but Babylon licks its wounds after its Q4 profits tumbled.

MediWound soars in post-IPO trading

MediWound, an Israeli high-tech startup developing treatments for severe burns, posted double-digit gains for its shares after an initial public offering on Wall Street last week. MediWound jumped 29.7% Thursday and Friday, to close at $18.16 on the Nasdaq. MediWound had opted to sell its shares in an IPO Wednesday at a low $14, in order to attract top-flight institutional investors. With the success of initial trading, TheMarker has learned that underwriters will go ahead and sell another 750,000 MediWound shares that they have under their overallotment option.

Babylon profit plunges on loss of Google

Babylon, the online translation company, saw its profits tumble in the final quarter of last year after the online search giant Google severed ties with it. Babylon said Sunday that revenues plunged 53% in the three months from the same time in 2012, to 98.6 million shekels ($28.3 million). The company boosted net profit by more than 31% to 45.7 million shekels, but that was because it reduced spending on acquiring new users – a critical growth driver for the company that Babylon had warned would reduce income this year – to 27.8 million shekels, down 72% from the same time in 2012. As a result, Babylon conducted just 4.2 billion searches and translations in the final quarter, a drop of nearly a third from a year ago. Shares of Babylon rose 6.8% to close at 7.48 shekels ($2.15 ) in Tel Aviv.

Medigus gets FDA clearance for 
next-generation device

Medigus, a developer of minimally invasive endosurgical tools, said Sunday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved its next-generation Muse device. Muse enables endoscopists to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease – a condition that causes the stomach acid of sufferers to come up into the esophagus – by performing a procedure through the mouth without the abdominal incisions surgeons conventionally use. “This is an important achievement in our 2014 strategic plan, and allows us to focus on the implementation of a scalable commercial, clinical and physician training model through the establishment of ‘centers of excellence’ in the United States,” CEO Chris Rowland said. Medigus shares soared 17.3% by close to 6.43 shekels ($1.85) in Tel Aviv.

Fishman mulls listing for filling station chain Ten

Eliezer Fishman is weighing a plan to sell shares in Ten, Israel’s fifth-largest operator of filling stations, and list the stock for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The share sale would not be to the public but to minority investors, who include Excellence Investment House’s provident funds and Excellence’s two founders, Gil Deutch and Roni Biran. Fishman, who has been raising cash to meet debt repayments, is seeking to sell shares at a company valuation of as much as 600 million shekels ($172 million), on the grounds that Ten is expanding quickly, with plans to add seven filling stations to its existing 45 in the coming year. But market sources say that his target is very ambitious. With 300 million shekels in bonds publicly traded and a shelf registration in place, Ten could be registered for TASE trading quickly.

TA-25 shares fight off early weakness 
to end at record high

After trading lower most of the day, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s TA-25 index took a sudden turn north in late trading Sunday, to end the session up 0.7% at 1,393.23 points, setting a new record high. The TA-100 also ended higher, advancing 0.4% to 1,283.39. Turnover was 688 million shekels ($197 million). Among the biggest gainers, TowerJazz extended its rally from last Thursday, closing 3.7% higher at 32.15 shekels. Food maker Strauss rose 3.4% to close at 64.50 shekels and Israel Chemicals gained 2.6% for a 30.75-shekel finish. Bond prices rose, although expectations are that the Bank of Israel will hold its base lending rate Monday, keeping it unchanged at 0.75%. The government’s 10-year shekel bond rose 0.25%, cutting its yield to 3.18%, while its equivalent inflation-indexed bond gained 0.32% to trim its yield to 1.02%.

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