The Ticker Dollar Barrels Past Four Shekels

Be’er Sheva builder eyes IPO; Apax in talks to buy caterer; Tel Aviv stocks extend gains.

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Israeli shekels. (illustrative)
Israeli shekels. (illustrative)Credit: Reuters

Greenback jumps 1.8% to push pass four shekels again
The dollar surged 1.8% on Monday to push past four shekels for the first time in almost three weeks as the greenback rose on bets the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates from historic lows in the coming months. The Bank of Israel rate was set at 4.0140 with the shekel at 3.9924 in late trading. The euro tumbled back toward $1.05 in global markets Monday, hitting its lowest level in four weeks. It weakened 0.2% to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.2259 and was trading at 4.226 late in the day. “A rise above four shekels is likely to encourage speculators to push the exchange rate to a record high, with the next resistance level at 4.02 shekels,” said currency trader FXCM. “But in light of the failure of previous moves to break the range, both above and below, it’s still not clear the market will achieve a major breakout.” The dollar’s most recent high against the shekel, in March 2009, was 4.053. (Dror Reich)

Be’er Sheva builder eyeing initial public offering
Oron Group Investments & Holdings, a Be’er Sheva-based civil engineering company, is planning an initial public offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, sources told TheMarker. The IPO would value the company between 150 million and 300 million shekels ($37.6 million to $75.2 million). Oron has filed a draft prospectus and plans a roadshow starting in about two weeks to present the company to investors. On top of the share offering, the company is also weighing a bond issue of yet undetermined size. Sources said the firm made a net profit of 20 million to 30 million shekels last year, which would mean its shares would go public at eight to 10 times earnings. Poalim IBI is expected to manage the offering. The 12-year-old company was founded and continues to be managed by the twin brothers Gili and Yoel Azaria, graduates of the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. (Eran Azran)

Apax in talks to buy Israel’s largest caterer
With its sale of Tnuva due to be completed shortly, British buyout fund Apax Partners is in preliminary talks to buy a stake in the institutional-catering company Schultz Group in a deal that could reach the tens of millions of dollars. The Schultz family, which founded the business 30 years ago, would retain a controlling stake, with Apax taking at least 25% through its dedicated Israel fund AMI, which has $300 million under management. The acquisition would be the first for the fund, which still aims to raise as much as $500 million. Schultz is Israel’s largest catering company, providing 100,000 meals daily in cafeterias at companies such as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Amdocs. It employs 1,500 people and generates about 350 million shekels ($87.7 million) a year in revenues. Last year it won a 22-year contract from the military to provide food services; the deal will generate 80 million shekels in annual revenues. (Ora Coren)

Tel Aviv stocks extend gains, led by drugs and telecoms
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange extended gains Monday, with Teva, Perrigo and telecommunications shares leading the way. The TA-25 and TA-100 both rose about 0.5% — to 1,689.34 and 1,483.59 points, respectively. Turnover was 1.6 billion shekels ($400 million). Perrigo closed 1.6% higher at 805.60 shekels four days after U.S firm Mylan unveiled a bid to buy the drug maker. Teva, which may emerge as a rival buyer for Perrigo — or as a buyer for Mylan — rose 0.9% to 265.90. B Communications added 4%, the biggest gainer on the TA-100, to end at 66.37, while its Bezeq unit rose 2.4% to 7.55 and Partner Communications climbed 3.9% to 11.35. Israel Chemicals lost 2.1% to finish at 27.99 shekels after Meitav Dash lowered its rating for the stock to Market Outperform with a target price of 34 shekels. Allot was the biggest loser on the TA-100, falling 3.5% to 34.95. Insurance and energy stocks were lower, with Phoenix shedding 2.4% to end the day at 11.80 shekels. (Dror Reich)

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