Israel's Biggest Lender May List on U.S. Over-the-counter Market

Business in Brief | Alltrade Group slates NIS 40 million IPO ■ Amdocs boosts dividend, share buyback ■ Biomed in focus as Tel Aviv shares end Thursday lower

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File photo: Bank Hapoalim Branch, Tel Aviv,  June 13, 2016.
File photo: Bank Hapoalim Branch, Tel Aviv, June 13, 2016.Credit: David Bachar

Hapoalim may list on U.S. OTC market

Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s biggest lender, is weighing listing its shares in the U.S. over-the-counter market. Listing its shares with the OTC Markets Group would be an unusual decision for the bank, which is big enough to qualify for a New York Stock Exchange listing. However, an OTC listing would exempt it from meeting U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requirements and other costs while giving it exposure to American and other foreign investors and boosting liquidity, said Jason Paltrowitz, executive vice president of corporate services at OTC Markets Group. Hapoalim is weighing a listing as its controlling shareholder, Shari Aronson, is in the midst of a planned sale of half her 20% stake to a group of North American investors. Hapoalim would probably trade on the OTC Markets’ OTCQX platform, which counts 424 large companies, among them the Swiss drug maker Roche and Israeli apparel company Delta Galil. (Shelly Appelberg)

Alltrade Group slates NIS 40 million IPO

Alltrade Group, a broker dealing in new and refurbished computer hardware, is planning a 40 million shekel ($11.4 million) initial public offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. A draft prospectus filed late on Wednesday showed the company would be valued at 100 million shekels before the money, which amounts to 15 times forecast 2017 net profits. Sources close to the company cited the new Israeli law on recycling computers and electronics that will boost Alltrade’s business for the generous valuation. Formed in 2002 and employing 130 people, mostly in the West Bank’s Barkan industrial zone, helps businesses like Osem, Bezeq and Google Israel source PC, laptops and peripherals from an inventory of new and used gear it sources from around the world. Alltrade’s revenues grew 26% in the first half of the year from the same time in 2016 to 50 million shekels as net profit quadrupled to 3.2 million shekels. (Eran Azran)

Amdocs boosts dividend, share buyback

Amdocs’ board approved an enlarged share buyback program and increased its dividend late on Wednesday amid a lagging share performance. Shares of the Nasdaq-traded software company have doubled in the last five years, but that puts them behind the 135% gain for Nasdaq shares overall. Amdocs said its dividend would grow to 25 cents a share, starting with next April’s payout, up from 22 cents. In addition, it said it would buy back $800 million in shares over an open-ended period. That comes on top of the $90 million it spent in the last quarter as part of a $350 million buyback program previously approved. Meanwhile, Amdocs said earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter came out at an adjusted 94 cents per diluted share, up from 89 cents a year earlier and in line with forecasts by analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research. Amdocs shares were down 2.0% at $61.99 in mid-afternoon trading local time on Thursday in New York. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Biomed in focus as Tel Aviv shares end Thursday lower

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange ended a stormy session with relatively modest declines, with biomed stocks at the center of attention. The benchmark TA-35 index ended down 0.1% at 1,416.35 points, after clawing back from mid-afternoon lows, while the TA-125 finished with a decline of 0.4% at 1,293.65. Turnover was 1.98 billion shekels ($560 million). The Biomed index closed sharply lower after Opko Health plunged 15.6% to end at 19.32 after reporting a far bigger third-quarter loss than analysts expected. Other losers included BionVax on a 7.4% drop to 54 agorot and Redhill’s 2.7% decline to 1.88. Against that, Perrigo jumped 13.9% to 320.90 after the drug maker beat analysts’ expectations with adjusted earnings of $1.39 a share. Teva Pharmaceuticals rose 1.9% to 41.36, Mazor Robotics added 2.1% to 106.90 and Mylan rose 3.4% to 131.70. Volume leader Bank Hapoalim sank 2.3% to a close of 23.82. (Shelly Appelberg)



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