Busines in Brief: SodaStream Shares Jump on First-quarter Earnings Surprise

Willigers seek control of Willi-Food parent; Teva CEO defends Allergan acquisition; Shares end higher before holiday weekend.

Stock prices flash on an electronic screen displaying world clocks at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.
Bloomberg

SodaStream shares jump on first-quarter earnings surprise

Shares of SodaStream posted double-digit gains Tuesday after the maker of home soda makers reported that earnings and sales for the first quarter far exceeded Wall Street’s expectations.

Net income for the quarter was almost unchanged from a year ago at about $6.1 million, or 29 cents a share, but that was 18 cents above the average estimate for stock analysts polled by Capital IQ Consensus. Moreover, SodaStream said revenue increased 10.4% to $100.9 million, giving a badly needed boost as the company seeks to position its products as offering a healthful alternative to purchasing carbonated beverages.

Revenues were far ahead of the average forecast for about $89 million by Capital IQ Consensus. “Sales exceeded our expectations driven by strong gains in Europe as our new messaging fueled increased demand for sparkling water makers, gas refills and our enhanced flavor line in turnaround markets like France and the Nordics,” said CEO Daniel Birnbaum.

SodaStream shares ended 12.6% higher at 63.56 shekels ($16.85). (TheMarker)

Willigers seek control of Willi-Food parent

Joseph Williger has launched a drive to gain control of BSD, the company that owns Willi-Food, the food importer he and his brother Zwi sold to Ukrainian oligarch Gregory Gurtovoy in 2014.

In a letter to shareholders Tuesday, Williger called for a general shareholders meeting to elect new directors, including himself and Zwi, to the board of London Stock Exchange-listed BSD. Joseph controls 17.5% of BSD. The new directors would effectively give the Willigers control of Willi-Food, but in an interview with TheMarker Joseph denied that was his goal.

“BSD has not a few problems. Trading has been halted and the company hasn’t published financial reports I have no interest in returning to Willi-Food,” he said. In addition, BSD has been ensnared in the legal problems of Gurtovoy, who in February was arrested on suspicion of fraud and money laundering.

Shares of Willi-Food ended 0.8% up at 11.24 shekels ($2.98). (Eran Azran)

Teva CEO defends Allergan acquisition

Teva Pharmaceuticals CEO Erez Vigodman defended the $40.5-billion price tag the company is paying for Dublin-based Allergan.

“The opportunities in the U.S. generic market and in the global generic space are huge,” Vigodman told investors on a Monday night call after the release of its first-quarter earnings. “And we strongly believe that with everything that we are witnessing now, the opportunities for Teva are even bigger compared to basically [what] we were [seeing] when we announced the deal.”

He spoke in response to reports of stiffer competition for generics in the U.S. market, a drop in the stock market valuations of generic companies and that Teva would have to sell more of its portfolio to win antitrust approval.

Bernstein & Sanford analyst Ronny Gal was quoted in TheStreet.com as saying Vigodman made a “spirited defense of its version on generic business.”

Teva shares ended 0.75% at 200.30 shekels ($53.09). (Yoram Gabison)

Shares end higher before holiday weekend

Tel Aviv shares ended higher Tuesday in the final day of trading before a long Memorial Day-Independence Day weekend.

In a day punctuated with earnings announcements, the benchmark TA-25 index finished 0.8% up at 1,420.90 points, while the TA-100 added 0.7% to 1,228.24. Turnover was 1.22 billion shekels ($320 million).

Perion Network finished up 6.1% at 6.10 shekels. The company reported a 60% drop in first-quarter adjusted earnings, but investors were encouraged by guidance for higher second-quarter revenues. Mannkind tumbled 21.6% to 3.88 after it reported an adjusted loss of 6 cents a share, much wider than the 4 cents analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were anticipating.

Bezeq led blue-chip gainers on a rise of 2.5% to 8.10, but TowerJazz finished down 1.9% to 45.08. Ability cemented its rebound from a giant sell-off last week prompted by its announcement it was restating earnings back to 2012. Its share price rose 4.5% on Tuesday to a 12.06 close. (Ruti Levy)