Business in Brief - Housing and Construction Ltd. in Giant Berlin Property Deal

A new CEO at Israel Corp.'s China car venture; SF firm exercises option on CureTech cancer drug; Israel Chemicals to sell German unit; Tel Aviv shares end higher.

Reuters

Housing & Construction in giant Berlin property deal

Housing & Construction Ltd. is joining thousands of other Israelis in Berlin. The real-estate developer, controlled by Shari Arison, said on Sunday that its ADO Properties affiliate was purchasing 5,800 rental apartments and commercial space in the German capital for about 400 million euros ($489 million). The acquisition, plus another deal Housing & Construction announced with Harel Insurance & Finance last September, will bring the total number of Berlin apartments H&C controls to 14,000 units. The apartments are 96%-occupied and bring in revenue of 24 million euros annually, the company said. Shares of Housing & Construction, which owns 37.9% of publicly traded ADO, rose 0.7% to close at 8.49 shekels ($2.16). ADO, which is financing the purchases through bank loans and a rights issue, rose 1.1% to close at 4.9 shekels. (Michael Rochvarger)

Israel Corp.’s China car venture replaces CEO

Gua Qian has been replaced as chairman and CEO of Qoros, Israel Corp.’s automobile joint venture with China’s Chery, apparently due to poor sales, China Business News reported last week. He will be succeeded by Chen Anning, who is a deputy president of Chery and chairman of the Jaguar Land Rover board. Marketing and Sales Director Wei Sifan is also leaving. Israel Corp. and Chery formed Qoros seven years ago as a 50-50 joint venture, but sales of the Qoros 3 sedan and hatchback cars have been disappointing, with just 6,000 cars sold so far this year. The Qoros 3 Urban SUV was unveiled last week to add to the line, but an industry website, Gasgoo Automotive News, expressed doubt that the SUV would be able to compete. Shares of Israel Corp., which lost $232 million in the first nine months of this year on the venture, dropped 0.4% to end at 1,990 shekels ($507). (TheMarker Staff)

U.S. company exercises option with Clal Biotech’s CureTech

Medivation of San Francisco plans to exercise its option to develop and commercialize a CureTech anti-cancer treatment. Under the agreement CureTech will get, among other things, a $5 million up-front payment and another $85 million as it achieves milestones in developing the drug, which is called pidilizumab, or CT-011. If the drug is commercialized, CureTech will get 5% to 11% of annual sales plus another $245 million it they exceed $400 million a year. The two sides last October had signed a pact giving Medivation the option for pidilizumab. Shares of Clal Biotechnology, which owns 48% of CureTech and will get directly 15% of all royalties due CureTech on sales over $10 million, climbed 4.3% to end at 2.8 shekels ($0.71). (Yoram Gabison)

Israel Chemicals agrees to sell German unit

Israel Chemicals said over the weekend that it had agreed to sell its Rhenoflex unit, based in Germany and China, to the German private-equity fund Findos Investor. ICL didn’t disclose a price, but market sources estimated it at $60 million to $70 million. The sale of Rhenoflex, a maker of high-end shoe-reinforcement materials and orthopedic parts with $50 million in annual sales, is part of ICL’s strategy to divest non-core businesses and focus on agriculture, food and engineered materials. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter. ICL shares edged down 0.03% to 28.99 shekels ($7.39). (Yoram Gabison)

Tel Aviv shares end higher despite Russia woes

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange shrugged off the woes besetting companies with exposure to Russia (see story on this page) to end higher on Sunday. Inspired by gains on Wall Street over the weekend, the TA-25 and TA-100 indices both ended about 0.4% higher at 1,487.53 and 1,316.89 points, respectively, on turnover of 676.4 million shekels ($172 million). Teva Pharmaceutical and Perrigo extended rallies from last week, finishing up 3.3% to 229.3 shekels and up 2.8% at 657.1 shekels on Sunday. Ratio added 4% to finish at 41 agorot. Among the day’s biggest losers, Discount Investment Corp. ended down 2.9% at 8.13 shekels. Corporate bonds were lower, with the Tel-Bond 20, 40 and 60 indices falling as much as 0.5%. (Dror Reich)