Business in Brief: Frutarom First-quarter Profit Climbs 22% as Acquisitions Boost Sales

Xura agrees to be sold to U.S. private equity fund; Tel Aviv shares track rises in Europe, U.S.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Moti Milrod

Frutarom first-quarter profit climbs 22% as acquisitions boost sales

Frutarom, a maker of flavors and fine ingredients, reported on Tuesday a 22% rise in first-quarter net profit as sales were lifted by acquisitions. The company earned $26.4 million excluding non-recurring expenses in the first quarter, up from $21.6 million a year earlier as revenue surged by a third to a record $257.7 million.

CEO Ori Yehudai has been on a company shopping spree, making 11 acquisitions last year and five so far in 2016, for a total of $182 million. “These acquisitions support the realization of our plans for rapid growth in our core activities while expanding the share of the flavors activity... and for accelerating our growth and market share expansion in North America and in emerging markets,” he said Tuesday, saying that Frutarom is aiming for annual sales of at least $2 billion by 2020.

The quarterly results do not yet reflect cost cutbacks Frutarom is taking, which he said would bring savings of up to $22 million annually.  Frutarom shares ended 2% up at 192.30 shekels ($49.78). (TheMarker Staff)

Xura agrees to be sold to U.S. private equity fund

Xura, once a star of the Israeli high-tech industry under the name Comverse, said on Monday it had agreed to sell itself to a U.S. private equity fund for $643 million.

Siris Capital will pay $25 a share for the company, a 19% premium of Zura’s Nasdaq-traded market prices on Monday. With Xura holding about $170 million in cash, Siris is paying about $470 million for Xura’s business operations.

The company’s problems began a decade ago when top management were found to be illegally backdating stock options, forcing founder and CEO Kobi Alexander step down. As its business deteriorated in recent years, Xura opted to focus on digital communications services, selling its billing business to Amdocs last year for $272 million and outsourcing some 600 staff of the Indian company.

Last September it changed its name to Xura and nowadays only about 300 of its 1,100 employees work in Israel. The shares, which jumped on Monday’s announcement, were still rising, up 0.1% to $24.65 Tuesday morning local time in New York. (Omri  Zerachovitz)

Tel Aviv shares track rises in Europe, U.S.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange tracked European and U.S. markets higher on Tuesday. Stocks ended broadly higher, with only insurers and biomed shares ending down, as the TA-25 and TA-100 indices both finished ahead 1% at 1,428.24 and 1,238.05 points, respectively.

Turnover was almost 1.3 billion shekels ($340 million). Cellcom Israel led TA-100 shares higher on a rise of 4.4% to 30.94 shekels. Elbit Systems ended 2.25% higher at 368.90 shekels after it said it won contracts worth $40 million from an unnamed European country for tactical communications systems. Delek Group was ahead 2.3% to end at 700 shekels.

Among the losers, Teva Pharmaceuticals declined 0.5% to 200.50 and Ability resumed its tailspin, falling 4.2% to end at 10.28. Since the company said at the start of the month it would have to restate earnings, its shares have plunged by 62%. Harel led insurance stocks down, losing 1.3% to finish at 13.28. (Shelly Appelberg)