Business in Brief: Wharton Properties to Make Second Attempt at Tel Aviv Bonds

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Jeff Sutton.Credit: YouTube screenshot

Jeff Sutton’s Wharton Properties to make second attempt at selling bonds in Tel Aviv

Just over a year after a failed effort to raise 2 billion shekels ($520 million at the time) in a bond sale on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Jeff Sutton’s Wharton Properties is going to try to make a go of it again, although this time for a fraction of the amount.

TheMarker has learned that the New York property developer has filed a draft prospectus to raise between 100 million shekels and 200 million shekels and is seeking a rating from S&P Maalot. Wharton won an AA rating the first time around and will probably get the same for the upcoming sale, which sources said would probably take place in December or January.

 Wharton, among the biggest of the North American property developers to have tapped the Israeli debt market in recent years, has a portfolio of 120 buildings valued at $10 billion. Despite that, Wharton failed because of the bond issue’s complicated structure and unattractive terms, which drew scant interest from institutional investors. (Eran Azran)

TASE hires a private eye but won’t say why

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.Credit: Moti Milrod

Amnon Neubach, the chairman of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, retained the services of a private investigation agency, but Wednesday he declined to comment on why.

“Like any business organization, we need to protect ourselves,” he said. The agency, Focus Investigations, which is managed by Gil Shmueli, confirmed it had been hired but cited client confidentiality. Meubach has been at the center of management turmoil at the bourse in recent weeks that saw the departure of CEO Yossi Beinart. Acting CEO Gal Landau-Yaari said shortly afterward she would step down, too, but retracted the decision at the behest of the board, some of whose members reportedly want to force out Neubach.

A TASE spokesman said the investigation was not connected with the changes. “Any attempt to link this with the recent personnel changes is unfounded and has no basis in reality,” the bourse said, ascribing rumors to efforts to tarnish the TASE’s name. (Shelly Appelberg)

Pluristem rallies after Chinese investor takes 17.5% stake

Shares of Pluristem Therapeutics, a developer of placenta-based cell therapy products, soared Wednesday after it said China’s Innovative Medical Management was investing $30 million in the company and becoming its biggest shareholder.

Pluristem said IMM, a publicly listed company and an affiliate of Zheshang Venture Capital, paid $1.77 each for about 16.9 million shares, giving it a 17.5% stake. In addition, Pluristem said it would issue to IMM about 4.4 million warrants to purchase Pluristem common stock at $2.50 per warrant any time over the next five years.

The shares will be subject to a lockup agreement for six months after the closing of the agreement, which is scheduled for no later than December 26, it added.

Zheshang Venture Capital has 30 billion yuan ($4.45 billion) under management through more than 30 venture capital, private equity, angel and buyout funds. Pluristem shares closed up 7.3% at 6.17 shekels ($1.60) in Tel Aviv. (Yoram Gabison)

Biomed stocks lead Tel Aviv higher after long holiday weekend

With biomed stocks pacing the gains, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange came back from a long holiday weekend to end higher Wednesday.

The blue-chip TA-25 index closed nearly 0.5% up at 1,436.52 points, while the TA-100 added 0.6% to 1.259.19, as 1.2 billion shekels ($310 million) in shares changed hands.

Biomed shares were led by a 14.2% gain for Mannkind to a close of 2.06 shekels after the company rallied on Wall Street over the weekend. Opko Health closed 2.8% higher at 36.45 and Mazor Robotics up 1.5% at 45 while Can-Fite rose 1.4% to 1.66 after it signed an agreement with Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceuticals for exclusive rights to distribute Can-Fite’s liver cancer treatment in South Korea. Ceragon soared 21.9% to 10.40 after its shares climbed sharply on Wall Street over the weekend.

Volume leader Teva Pharmaceuticals advanced 1% to 167.80. The biggest loser among TA-100 stocks was Frutarom, which shed 1.65% to end at 202.10. (Guy Erez)