Business in Brief: Israel Chemicals Signs 3-year Potash Pact With Chinese Buyers

Mazor shares jump on projected record quarterly sales; Former finance minister Bar-On named Delek Drilling chairman; Mannkind shares plunge after Sanofi ends licensing deal; Tel Aviv shares end higher, led by telecoms.

The Dead Sea Works potash fertilizer manufacturing plant belongs to Israel Chemicals.
Bloomberg

Israel Chemicals signs 3-year potash pact with Chinese buyers

Israel Chemicals said Tuesday it signed framework agreements with customers in China to supply up to 3.4 million metric tons of potash over the next three years at what it said will be  “prevailing market prices” in China. ICL said the amounts are 3% more than in its previous three-year framework agreements with Chinese customers. “The quantities and multiyear terms of the agreements also reflect our strong and stable relationships in the Chinese market, as well as our successful efforts to maintain – and even increase – our position,” said Nissim Adar, president of ICL Fertilizers. ICL Fertilizers enjoys an advantage over competitors in China because it can ship potash to China from the Red Sea port of Eilat at relatively low cost. Shares of ICL ended up 2.4% higher at 16.47 shekels ($4.19). (Yoram Gabison)

Mazor shares jump on projected record quarterly sales

Mazor Robotics shares soared Tuesday after the maker of surgical robots said it received a record 12 orders for its Renaissance systems in the fourth quarter, and forecast revenues above market expectations. In the U.S., the company said it installed eight systems and internationally, it received purchase orders from its distribution partners for four systems, primarily in Asia. For all of 2015, Mazor said it received 25 orders, plus one upgrade, a 25% year-on-year increase from the year before. The fourth-quarter orders will boost Mazor’s revenues to a record revenue of $8.8 million, the company said, which would put them ahead of the $7.8 million analysts surveyed by Capital IQ Consensus Estimate had forecast. Mazor shares rose 8% to finish at 21.46 shekels ($5.46). (Yoram Gabison)

Former finance minister Bar-On named Delek Drilling chairman

Roni Bar-On, a former finance and infrastructure ministry, became the latest government official to join Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Group. Delek Drilling, one of two Delek subsidiaries that has stakes in the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields, named Bar-On chairman on Monday. He will be joining Amos Yaron, a former Defense Ministry director-general who joined Delek Drilling’s board three months ago as an outside director. Other Delek Group appointees from the public sector include Udi Nissan, chairman of Delek Israel and a former treasury budget director; Guy Rottkopf; a former Justice Ministry director general who now serves as an adviser to Tshuva; and Moshe Karadi, CEO of Delek Pi Glilot and a former police commissioner. Bar-On, who capped a long political career as finance minister from 2007 to 2009, is also a director of the real estate companies Gazit Globe and Alrov and the IDB group. (Avi Bar-Eli and Eran Azran)

Mannkind shares plunge after Sanofi ends licensing deal

Shares of Mannkind, the U.S. biotech company traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, plummeted Tuesday after the French drug maker Sanofi said it was terminating its contract to market an inhalable insulin Afrezza developed by Mannkind. “The product never met even modest expectations, and we do not project Afrezza reaching even the lowest patient levels anticipated,” Sanofi said in an e-mailed statement. “Costs are projected to remain very high for a significant period of time.” The decision to terminate the collaboration, formed in 2014, marks a blow for the idea of delivering insulin through an inhaler, rather than by injection. Mannkind said it is reviewing its strategic options for Afrezza, which are likely to include a full or partial sale. Shares in U.S.-based Mannkind fell 23.9% to close at 4.02 shekels ($1.02). (TheMarker Staff)

Tel Aviv shares end higher, led by telecoms

Tel Aviv shares ended higher Tuesday, led by telecoms shares, even as most world stocks markets were still reeling over concerns about the Chinese economy. The TA-25 and TA-100 indices both ended 0.5% higher at 1,531.42 and 1,320.34 points, respective, on turnover of close to 1.5 billion shekels ($380 million). Telecoms shares were sharply higher, with Cellcom Israel advanced 6.1% to a close of 26.44 and Partner Communications added 4.7% to 18.84. El Al Airlines climbed 3.9% to a 3.13-shekel close. Melisron rose 1.3% to 128.10 shekels after it said it would pay a 220 million-shekel dividend in 2016. In foreign currency trading, the euro strengthened 0.9% to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.2293. (Uri Tomer)