ICL warns: Production lines will be shut, more layoffs at Bromine
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Israel Chemicals threatened on Sunday to shut more production lines and lay off more workers at its Bromine Compounds plant if the ongoing, 63-day strike isn’t settled. In a letter to the plant’s 850 employees, management said that given how long the strike had been going on, it would have no choice but to close the lines producing ammonium bromide, trinol, dinol and PBBPA, all of which would entail firing another 57 employees, on top of the 139 already slated for layoffs. “While the strike at Bromine Compounds continues, we are drawing down on inventories and will eventually no longer be able to supply our customers’ needs,” ICL said. “We would therefore be required to notify the company’s customers that we can’t continue supplying them as contractually obligated.” ICL said it was prepared to rescind half the layoffs it had planned, but that unions had rejected the offer. ICL shares rose 0.6% to end at 28.88 shekels ($7.37).
Kornit jumps 40% on first day of trading
Shares of Israel’s Kornit Digital, which makes digital printing equipment and inks for the printed textile industry, jumped 40% to $14 on Friday in its first day of trading after an initial public offering at $10 a share. The Rosh Ha’ayin company had planned to sell the shares for between $13 and $15, but, in the absence of demand, was forced to cut the offering price to just $10 each. Kornit raised $71 million in the IPO, valuing the company at $308 million, although underwriters led by Barclays and Citi have options to sell more shares that could bring gross proceeds to $74.3 million. The private equity fund Fortissimo saw its 70% stake in the company diluted to 50%. Fortissimo invested $16 million in Kornit four years ago, but after the Friday rally its remaining 50% stake is worth $200 million. Kornit earned half its 2014 revenues ($66 million) in the United States and 3% from Europe, even though most of the world’s textile industry is in Asia, meaning it has a lot of potential to grow.
Teva to pay $24m in pay-for-delay suit
Teva Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $24 million to settle three class-action suits taken against it in a so-called pay-for-delay case over generic versions of AstraZeneca heartburn drug Nexium, filings in Massachusetts federal court on Thursday showed. The money will be used to reimburse Nexium users, who had to pay the higher price for Nexium because Teva had reached an agreement with Astra Zeneca to delay introducing its lower-cost generic version of the drug in exchange for AstraZeneca giving up part of the money due it from Teva in an unrelated patent case. The Nexium case is part of a widespread pay-for-delay phenomenon in the drug industry, which the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on. It is not the first or biggest lawsuit Teva has faced. In 2013, it paid $495 million to settle a pay-for-delay agreement that its Cephalon unit made to delay generic competition for its blockbuster sleep-disorder drug Provigil before Teva bought the company. Teva shares rose 0.3%, to close at 250 shekels ($63.80).
Shares edge up in short trading day
Tel Aviv shares edged up in light holiday-week trading on Sunday, after a rally in energy stocks. The benchmark TA-25 index finished up less than 0.1% at 1,642.15 points, while the TA-100 rose close to 0.3% to 1,432.49. With trading days ending at 2:30 P.M. (and it being a Sunday anyhow, when foreign trading is at its minimal), turnover was a mere 351 million shekels ($89.6 million). The Oil and Gas index jumped 3.8% to 1,073.63 points, with Delek Drilling finishing 5% higher at 15.97 and Avner ahead 4.6% to 2.90. In biotech, Insuline soared 15% higher to close at 31 agorot after telling the stock exchange on Sunday it should be able to resolve problems raised by German authorities, which last month refused to register its InsuPad device. Perrigo led blue chips down, falling 1.9% to 642.50 shekels, while Nice System lost 2% to 232.80 shekels.