Tech Nation / ICL Agrees to Acquire German Food-chemicals Firm

Dollar slides 1.3% against shekel; officials working to win Matomy TASE listing; Amdocs beats analysts’ expectation for first quarter.

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Israel Chemicals’ Dead Sea magnesium plant.
An Israel Chemicals plant.Credit: Reuters

Israel Chemicals said late on Tuesday that it was buying Germany’s Prolactal GmbH for 100 million euros ($113 million) as it expands its operations in the food-chemicals business. Prolactal makes and markets functional dairy proteins used broadly in the beverage, dairy and meat industries to stabilize and improve the nutrition of beverages and foods. “ICL’s board of directors views the food market as one of the core markets in which we are determined to grow our business significantly,” said ICL Chairman Nir Gilad. “Prolactal will serve these purposes, and will provide us with an opportunity to expand synergies within ICL.” Prolactal employs about 200 people in two plants in Germany and Austria. Shares of ICL, which said the acquisition would add to earnings from the first year after its results are consolidated, edged down 0.07% to close at 28.25 shekels ($7.16). (Yoram Gabison)

Dollar slides 1.3% against shekel

Just days after it was approaching 4 shekels, the U.S. dollar dropped a sharp 1.3% in foreign currency trading on Wednesday, leaving it at a Bank of Israel rate of 3.945 shekels. In late trading, the greenback was weakening further and was trading at 3.9422, even as tensions on the Israel-Syria-Lebanon border grew on Wednesday, with two Israeli soldiers killed. “It seems that the breakthrough above 4 shekels at the start of the week was a false one and now its decline will drop below 3.93 shekels,” said currency trader FXCM. “Everything depends on the results of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate-setting committee.” Speculation is that the Fed will take a dovish turn in its post-meeting statement as signs emerge that the greenback’s strength is hurting company profits. The euro also slipped against the Israeli currency, but by a more modest 0.4% to 4.483 shekels. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Officials working to win Matomy TASE listing

The Israel Securities Authority is fast-tracking a plan to register shares in Matomy Media Group, the London-listed digital advertising company, for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, TheMarker has learned. The ISA this week asked the finance minister to seek an amendment to the Securities Law that would allow companies like Matomy, which are registered in the High Growth Segment of the London Stock Exchange and subject to fewer regulatory requirements, to dual list on the TASE. Rules currently limit dual listing only to companies on the main lists of the London and New York stock exchanges. Backing the ISA is TASE CEO Yossi Beinart, who has been trying to boost the exchange’s trading volume with more tech companies. With its $360 million market capitalization, Matomy would qualify for a place in the TASE’s TA-25 index of top stocks. (Eran Azran)

Amdocs beats analysts’ expectation for first quarter

Amdocs, which provides telcos with billing and other customer-service related software, on Tuesday said fiscal first-quarter profit rose 14% from a year earlier of $139.5 million, not counting one-time expenses and costs. At 88 cents a share, the earnings cents a share exceeded the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research, which was for earnings of 81 cents per share. However, revenue growth was much slower, climbing just 4.9% year on year to $906.3 million in the period, which did not meet Street forecasts. Analysts expected $910.4 million, according to Zacks. For the current quarter ending in March, Amdocs said it expected its earnings to range from 78 cents to 84 cents per share, while profits will be approximately $900 million to $930 million. Amdocs shares were up 3.1% at $49.03 in late morning trading in New York. (AP)

Tel Aviv shares fall on fighting, Greece

Tel Aviv shares ended down Wednesday, but well off their lows for the day, despite fighting in the north that left two soldiers dead and turmoil in Europe over Greece’s new government. The benchmark TA-25 index closed down 0.14% at 1,453.17 points, while the TA-100 lost 0.16% to 1,277.08. Turnover was relatively thin, with just 927 million shekels ($235 million) in shares changing hands. Leading the TA-100 down was Jerusalem Economy and its Industrial Building Limit unit, which dropped 6.9% to 13.64 shekels and 5.9% to 4.19 shekels, respectively. The biotech company PLuristem jumped 21.3% to a close of 13.20 after the investment house Acceleron rated the shares a Buy and gave them a target price of $21, compared with a $27.6 closing in New York Tuesday. TowerJazz added 5% to close at 63 shekels. In the fixed-income market, the government’s Shahar bond due in March 2024 fell 0,81, raising its yield to 1.72%. The inflation-indexed Galil fell 0.51% to leave its yield at 0.19%. (Omri Zerachovitz)

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