Business in Brief: Zap Plans to Go Public at Valuation That Could Reach $193m

FIMI selling Ham-Let; Housing & Construction executive under house arrest; stocks little changed as energy stocks fall

Zap's homepage
Screenshot from zap.co.il

Apax Partners hopes to float between 20% and 30% of Zap, which owns Israel’s top price-comparison platform, at a valuation as high as 700 million shekels ($192.8 million), according to a draft prospectus released Tuesday. That would represent a remarkable increase in Zap’s valuation after Apax bought a 90% stake just three years ago at a valuation of just 145 million shekels (and 90 million in assumed debt), especially because since September 2016 Zap has paid 85 million shekels in dividends. With the surge in online shopping, the company has enjoyed strong growth: Compounded annual revenue increased 9% annually in the last three years to reach 24.7 million shekels in 2017, while net profit has climbed 38% to 37 million. In addition to its price-comparison platform, Zap offers an online Yellow Pages and sites dedicated to wedding planning, health and other segments, supported by advertising from small and midsize businesses. (Guy Erez)

Ham-Let reportedly being put up for sale by FIMI

Ham-Let, the maker of valves, fittings and hoses for energy, semiconductor and electricity industries, is reportedly being put up for sale to a strategic investor by the private equity fund FIMI. Sources said FIMI has retained an unidentified Israeli investment bank to manage the sale of its 60.3% stake. Ham-Let shares currently trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange at about $25, nearly five times the value FIMI bought them at in 2012, thanks to a strong management team and a string of acquisitions. FIMI will reportedly seek a control premium of 15% to 20% on the shares and, failing to get that, will sell them to the public. Leading candidates to buy the stake are the U.S. companies Swagelok and Parker, and Japan’s Fujikin, all of them bigger rivals to Ham-Let. Shares of the Israeli company, which said in a statement that no concrete negotiations were under way right now, ended down 2.4% at 88.18 shekels ($22.36). (Yoram Gabison)

Housing & Construction executive detained in African bribery probe

Moshe Lahmani, the chairman of Housing & Construction Ltd., was reportedly questioned Tuesday and placed under house arrest in what the police and the Israel Securities Authority described as the second stage of their African bribery probe. Announcements by the police and the company didn’t name Lahmani, but sources said he was the one questioned and placed under house arrest. The move was the latest development in a widening investigation in accusations that Housing & Construction’s SBI unit had paid what the police alleged Tuesday were bribes that facilitated the winning of contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Kenya and elsewhere around the world. The affair led to brief detentions for several current and former H&C employees and was likely behind the decision by controlling shareholder Shari Arison to sell the company a month ago to Naty Saidoff. H&C shares ended 4% higher at 6.54 shekels ($1.80). (Efrat Neuman)

TA-35 index inches up in day of mixed trading

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s TA-35 index eked out a gain in the final hour of trading Tuesday, but the overall market was mixed and trading light. The benchmark index ended up 0.08% at 15,46.46 points, while the TA-125 edged down 0.01% to 1,383.11, on turnover of 836 million shekels ($230 million). Leading TA-125 shares higher, Opko Health surged 10.6% to 22.90 shekels. Oil and gas shares, however, were lower, with Tamar Petroleum down 4.2% at 15.86 and Delek Drilling down 2.4% at 9.10. Evogene rose 2% to 10.65 after it said it had formed a partnership with Brazil’s Instituto Mato-grossense do Algodão to develop cotton strains resistant to the cotton boll weevil and other pests. Enlight lost 0.4% to 1.89. It will ask shareholders to approve stock options worth 28.3 million shekels to its top three executives. El Al Airlines’ three-day rally came to a halt, with the share falling 0.9% to 92 agorot. (TheMarker)