The Ticker: Bezeq CEO Calls UN Anti-settlement Blacklist 'anti-Israel Propaganda'

Group asks to court to release documents relating to 'golden share' in Israel Chemicals ■ Prior-Tech China factory suffers fire damage ■ Tel Aviv shares end lower in very heavy trading

Bezeq CEO Stella Handler
Bezeq CEO Stella Handler Yanai Yechiel

Bezeq CEO calls UN anti-settlement blacklist ‘anti-Israel propaganda’

Bezeq CEO Stella Handler reacted sharply, if briefly, on Monday to a letter from the United Nations Human Rights Council’s informing her that the company was on its blacklist of firms doing business with West Bank settlements. In a Facebook post that she quickly deleted, Handler wrote, “From our point of view, UN HRC Resolution 31/36 is a biased attempt to attack Israel by applying illegitimate pressure on businesses that operate legally. We won’t cooperate with any move that is entirely anti-Israel propaganda.” She added that Bezeq, Israel’s biggest telecommunications company, served all its customers without bias. In contrast to its main rival Hot Telecom, Bezeq has facilities throughout the West Bank and is in many cases the sole provider of landline telephone, internet and multichannel television services to the settlements. Through its Pelephone unit, Bezeq provides mobile service, as do competitors Cellcom Israel and Partner. (Amitai Ziv) 

Group asks to court to release documents relating to ‘golden share’ in Israel Chemicals

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel asked a court on Monday to order the Finance Ministry to release the minutes of discussions concerning a government report alleging that Israel Chemicals violated the terms of the “golden share” held by the state. The petition asks Jerusalem District Court to order the protocols released under the Freedom of Information Law after the treasury failed to respond to the organization’s original August 2016 request. The group contends that a report written by the Finance Ministry accountant general showed that officials failed to act even though they knew ICL was in violation and are now seeking to cover up their negligence. Once a state-owned enterprise, ICL was privatized in the 1990s, but the government retains a single share that entitles it to certain rights. In that context, labor unions have accused ICL management of moving some of its operations out of Israel without that government’s consent. (Ora Coren)

Prior-Tech China factory suffers fire damage

Shares in Prior-Tech fell on Monday after the high-tech holding company said a a plant in China it was in the process of selling was damaged by a “major fire.” Prior-Tech said in a Tel Aviv Stock Exchange statement that it could not yet estimate the damage to its Zhuhai Advanced Chip Carriers & Electronic Substrate Solution Technologies factory in the Chinese city of Zhuhai, which manufactures and tests products for the semiconductor industry. Prior-Tech has a 38% stake that it has been trying to sell since the end of last year. Prior-Tech valued the operation in March at 133 million shekels ($38.1 million) but said it expected to fetch a higher valuation for it. After taking measures to cut costs last year, Access generated $58 million in revenues and $6.2 million in net profit in the first nine months of this year. Shares of Prior-Tech ended down 8.7% at 22.69 shekels. (Guy Erez)

Tel Aviv shares end lower in very heavy trading

Tel Aviv shares ended lower in heavy trading on Monday after the TA-35 index took an end-of-day dip even as major Wall Street indexes opened at fresh record highs. The blue chip index lost 0.4% to finish at 1,443.29 points, while the TA-125 index lost nearly 0.5% to 1,313,49, on turnover of 2.02 billion shekels ($580 million). Teva Pharmaceutical Industries dropped 1.3% to 52.40 shekels on turnover of more than 250 million shekels, or five times its recent daily average, as index investors recalibrated holdings in line with a reweighting of the stock exchange’s indexes. Energy shares were lower, with Alon Gas down 4.2% to 47.45, Ratio losing 1.5% to 2.20 and Isramco down 1.3% to 47 agorot. Strauss group rose 1.8% to 68.30 after Citi raised its target price to 77 shekels from 67, saying its Chinese water business was a growth engine. In foreign currency trading the dollar slipped below 3.50 to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.4960. (Guy Erez)