The Ticker / Euro at 12-year Low Versus Shekel

Adama to sell bonds, Hadera Paper CEO quits after 6 months, Supersol enters shaver war and cellular stocks do about-face.

Reuters

Euro at 12-year low versus shekel

The euro on Tuesday fell to a 12-year low against the shekel, battered by expectations that the European Central Bank will announce a plan to buy government bonds. The European currency weakened 0.2% to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.5474, its weakest since October 2002, while the dollar edged down 0.05% to 3.928. Against the dollar, the euro was 0.2% lower at $1.1582, having struck an 11-year low of $1.14595 on Friday. The ECB is widely expected to launch quantitative easing, effectively printing euros to buy government bonds, when it meets in Frankfurt on Thursday. “The plan will mean a continued depreciation of the euro against all currencies and against the shekel,” currency trader FXCM said. “Falling below the resistance point of 4.5 shekels is likely to accelerate its further decline.” (Dror Reich)

Hadera Paper CEO quits after six months

Six months after taking the helm of Hadera Paper, Shlomo Liran said on Tuesday that he had stepped down as CEO due to disagreements with the board. The two sides were at odds over how to stem losses that since 2010 have amounted to 210 million shekels ($53.5 million). Liran was brought in last year to succeed Ofer Bloch, who stepped down after five years amid declining sales for printing and writing paper, one of the company’s key businesses. Gadi Kunya, Hadera’s vice president for finance, is taking over as CEO until the board finds a permanent successor, the company said. Kunya, 44, served as vice president of finance at Gazit-Globe and Mei Eden before joining Hadera Paper, a unit of Clal Industries. Shares of Hadera, which have fallen close to 70% in the past year, tumbled 7.8% to end at 64.41 shekels. (Yoram Gabison)

After failed IPO, Adama to sell bonds

Agrichemicals maker Adama, which in November failed to complete an initial public offering, is now turning to the debt market to raise 600 million shekels ($153 million) in bonds. The proceeds will be used to buy all or part of four Chinese agrichemicals companies Adama was due to buy from the proceeds of the IPO for about $300 million in cash. The four - Jiangsu Anpon, Jiangsu Maidao, Jiangsu Huaihe and Jingzhou Sanonda Holdings - have combined turnover of $850 million in 2013, which would boost Adama’s turnover to about $4 billion annually and give it access to the Chinese farm market. News of the bond issue caused Adama’s Series Bet bonds due in 2036 to fall 4.2%, raising their yield to 4.74%. Adama is 60%-owned by China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which owns the four companies Adama is buying. (Yoram Gabison)

Supersol enters shaving war

Supersol joined the shaving war on Tuesday, saying it would sell Gillette’s Fusion product for 39.9 shekels ($10.17), less than half the 92.8 it had been charging until now. The move came as a smaller rival, the discounter Victory, started a price war with plans to sell Fusion razors for 45 shekels, prompting rival Rami Levy to cut its price to 42.9. The razor war comes as Supersol faces another rival discount chain, Echad, which opens its first store this week in Ra’anana. Supersol shares ended down 1.2% at 8.03 shekels. (Adi Dovrat-Meseritz)

Cellphone stocks do an about-face

The rout of cellphone stocks came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday, with both Cellcom Israel and Partner Communications both ending sharply higher and leaving the TA-25 index up slightly for the day. The benchmark index squeezed out a gain of 0.07% to end at 1,459.74 while the TA-100 edged up less than 0.2% to 1,275.63, on turnover of 1.12 billion shekels ($290 million). The two cellular operators have tumbled on concern about a price war in the industry, but on Tuesday Cellcom suddenly reversed course, adding 9% to end at 21.36 shekels while Partner climbed 7.2% to 13.1. IDB group shares, which have been pounded by the Cellcom unit’s woes, also rallied, with Discount Investment Corp. gaining 7.5% to close at 6.04 and IDB Development Corp. finished up 3.9% at 1.51 shekels. Nevertheless, Halman-Aldubi’s Amit Rosenzweig said Tel Aviv shares would continue to underperform world markets because of regulatory pressures and growing competition in key industries. Among losers, Bank Hapoalim fell 1.6% to 17.85. (Dor Reich)