Daily Roundup / Israeli Tycoon to Add to Manhattan Skyline

Americans go easy on tech company Mellanox, Petrol explorer Adira’s investment well runs dry, Israel’s central bank expected to leave its interest rate alone, Israel Chemical execs turn big profits on company options and Isramco plans to start drilling in November.

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Tshuva to build in Manhattan again:Despite suffering heavy losses on certain U.S. property projects, Israeli tycoon Yitzhak Tshuva has not soured on the States. His privately held company Elad Group has partnered with U.S.-based Silverstein Properties in buying a plot of land in Manhattan from the Carlyle Group for $170 million. The companies plan to invest about $650 million in building a residential and commercial project called Riverside Center, with more than 660 apartments. Financing will be partly the owners' equity and partly bank loans; and the two intend to bring more partners on board. One of Tshuva's more famed investments in Manhattan was the 2004 acquisition of the iconic Plaza Hotel off Central Park. He renovated at huge cost (and to huge protests) and sold in mid-2012 for a handsome profit.

U.S. investors spare Mellanox the rod:Although technology company Mellanox provided disappointing guidance for the first quarter of 2013 and promptly shrank 14% in Tel Aviv market value, the company fared better in the U.S. The dual-listed stock lost only 2.7% on Thursday and Friday trading on Wall Street, and therefore began trading Sunday in Tel Aviv with a big positive arbitrage gap of roughly 20%. Mellanox stock is down about 60% from its peak of six months ago, when the company’s market cap reached NIS 14 billion, more than Bank Leumi. It started Sunday trading in Tel Aviv at a market cap of NIS 6.1 billion. Leumi is worth NIS 19 billion.

Adira's offering flops:Gas and oil explorer Adira's attempt to tap investors for exploration funds has run dry. On Thursday night, the company, which tried to sell shares and warrants in Canada and Israel simultaneously, admitted to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that it failed to raise the NIS 20-million minimum set by Canadian authorities. The Tel Aviv offering ended with pitiful demand of NIS 6.2 million, while the company had hoped to raise NIS 40 million. Canadian investors were no better. The company needed the money to finance exploration of the Gabriella prospect.

BoI expected to hold policy rate:The Bank of Israel has foxed analysts before, but yet again as month-end approaches, the bets are being placed on interest rates for the next month and the consensus is that the central bank will hold its benchmark rate at 1.75%. Following the election in last week, the central bank, headed by Stanley Fischer, is expected to wait for the government to form and a new economic policy to be revealed before making new moves itself.  

ICL execs cash out options:Israel Chemicals CEO took advantage of a spike in the company’s share price to exercise stock options received three years ago and sell the shares on the market. Chairman Nir Gilad exercised 533,000 of his 800,000 options allocated in January 2010 and wound up with about NIS 1.85 million.

Isramco sees drilling at Daniel from November:Now that permits are in place, Isramco envisions starting drilling at the Daniel deep-water prospect in November 2013, the company says. ATP Corp, the drill operator has received the blessing of American authorities to proceed, Isramco explained. ATP Corp is supposed to prepare a plan of the geological structures to be explored, at least one in each of the Daniel East and Daniel West prospects. By September it is to submit an environmental report to the Israeli authorities, after which drilling can begin, Isramco says.

With reporting by Oren Freund, Eran Azran, Moti Bassok, Yoram Gabison and Eran Azran

Larry SilversteinCredit: Bloomberg
New York City skyline.Credit: AP

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