Daily Roundup / Never Mind Batteries, Better Place Switching CEOs

Eden Springs sees future in coffee, not water; Health Canada smiles on Brainsway.

Better Place CEO leaving after 3 months: Some things just don’t have staying power. Evan Thornley is quitting his job as CEO of the electric-car venture Better Place just three months after succeeding Shai Agassi as company leader. How did this happen? The Israel Corporation, which owns the biggest stake in Better Place, didn't like his rehab plan for the stuttering company. Thornley did lead a major cost-cutting drive at the firm, and in parallel shaped a new business plan. As explained to investors, Better Place would no longer focus on cars with switchable batteries: It would serve cars with plugs. It also changed its deal with car leasing fleets. Israel Corp., which is owned by the Ofer family, didn't like his plan, it would seem.

Ofer family asks Bank of Israel to amend permits: In other news of the Ofer family, having resolved family feuds that were holding up structural changes in ownership of Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, on Tuesday they formally asked the Bank of Israel to amend the permits regarding the bank. The Bank of Israel is expected to agree. Ofer Holdings will transfer half its stake to an otherwise inactive sister company mainly characterized by low leverage. That company will hold the permit to own a controlling stake in the bank. The whole issue arose because the vehicle through which the Ofers owned their interest in Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot had been overly leveraged.

Brainsway gets Canadian nod for anti-depression device: Israeli tech company Brainsway has received approval from the Canadian medical authorities to market its Deep-TMS non-invasive brain stimulation technology to treat clinical depression. News of the coup sent its stock up 3.4% on Tuesday on heavy turnover. The device will be used on depressives whose condition could not be alleviated by drugs. Just last week Brainsway got the nod from the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration to use Deep-TMS to treat clinical depression, with the same caveats.

Eden Springs selling water business: Eden Springs has hired Citigroup to advise it on selling its Dutch subsidiary Eden Holland, which handles the group's water and coffee sales in Israel and in 15 European nations. The selloff would be a strategic turning point for Eden Springs, otherwise known as Mayanot Eden or Mei Eden, and its main thrust is to focus less on bottled water and more on the coffee business, which is presently responsible for 25% of its activity. This will require building new production facilities and/or companies engaged in marketing coffee, which will take much money, hence the sale of Eden Holland.

With reporting by Daniel Schmil, Sivan Aizescu, Yoram Gabison

Tomer Appelbaum