Business in Brief / Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Determined to Become Friendlier for Small-cap Stocks

TASE aims to attract small caps; BiondVax to dual-list in New York and TA; IDB gets extension to sell insurer; and Tel Aviv shares end lower.

Daniel Bar-On

TASE determined to become friendlier for small-cap stocks

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is determined to shift its focus to small, growth-oriented companies, Chief Executive Yossi Beinart told a news conference on Tuesday. In another difficult year for the bourse, six companies conducted initial public offerings, according to TASE data, down from 62 in 2007. Average volume of shares and convertibles in 2014 climbed 1% to 1.2 billion shekels ($307 million) a day, less than half the record 2.5 billion shekels in 2007. Beinart, who took over as CEO 14 months ago, said he was aiming at the 50 to 100 companies, mostly tech firms, that are sold every year to foreign multinationals but could be traded on the TASE instead. “We need them here,” he said, but that required reducing regulation and related costs for publicly traded companies and making the TASE a friendlier pace for small-cap stocks. “We built a bourse for big companies, not for growth companies” and “we need to fix this,” he said. Beinart is targeting daily volume of 2.5 billion shekels and the addition of 100 new companies within five years. (Dror Reich)

BiondVax to dual-list in New York

BiondVax, which is developing a universal flu vaccine, is planning to list its shares in New York in addition to its Tel Aviv listing, the company said Tuesday. The company said it had filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the plan as well as an application for a possible sale of new shares. The timing for the share sale and its terms have yet to be determined, BiondVax said. But sources said it was likely to occur in the next several weeks and will be for less than $10 million. Biondvax, which has no revenue and ended the first nine months of 2014 with an operating loss of 6.2 million shekels ($1.58 million), said in July that preclinical trials showed its Multimeric-001’s efficacy against another strain of the H7 avian influenza. Shares of BiondVax, which has a market cap of 36 million shekels, rose 4.8% to close at 0.7 shekel. (Omri Zerachovitz)

IDB gets extension to sell Clal Insurance

IDB Development Corp. won in principle an extension from the government on Tuesday to sell its controlling stake in Clal Insurance. The Treasury’s commission for insurance, capital markets and long-term savings reached a draft agreement that would give the holding company until the end of 2015 to agree to sell its stake in the insurer. It will have another six months after that to win government approvals for the sale. The extension comes after an agreement to sell most of IDB’s stake to a Chinese-led group collapsed last summer. Since then, Commissioner Dorit Salinger told IDB that its finances were too precarious for it to continue holding an insurance license. Shares of IDB, which have been given a boost by controlling shareholder Eduardo Elsztain’s plan to inject 800 million shekels ($205 million) into the conglomerate through a rights issue, jumped 13% to close at 1.69 shekels. Clal Insurance added 3.1% to close at 52.25 shekels. (TheMarker Staff)

Tel Aviv shares down as world markets eased

Tel Aviv shares ended lower on Tuesday as world markets retreated. The benchmark TA-25 index finished down 0.3% at 1,452.42 points while the TA-100 lost 0.4% to 1.275.58 on turnover of 1.56 billion shekels ($400 million). Blue chips slumped, with Teva Pharmaceutical down 1.7% at 221 shekels and Bezeq off 13% at 6.85. Two companies with exposure to Russia’s troubled economy were down: Africa-Israel Investments shed 4.8% to close at 3.73 shekels and Industrial Buildings, a unit of Jerusalem Economy, lost 4.5% to end at 3.58. Mazor Robotics led biomed shares lower, falling 4.9% to 23.23 shekels. Bank shares were higher as was TowerJazz Semiconductor, which climbed 5.3% to a close of 51.25 shekels. A day after the Bank of Israel said it was leaving its base lending rate unchanged for January, the dollar weakened 0.53% to 3.908 shekels at the Bank of Israel rate. The government’s 10-year shekel bond rose 0.25%. (Omri Zerachovitz)