AstraZeneca Shares Tumble on News CEO May Leave for Teva

Business in Brief | Pricing for Tamar’s giant IPO due Monday ■ IC Power Israel files prospectus for offering ■ Teva rally leads Tel Aviv shares higher

File photo: A monitor displays AstraZeneca Plc signage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

AstraZeneca shares tumble on news CEO may leave for Teva

Shares in AstraZeneca fell sharply on Thursday and Teva Pharmaceuticals rallied after AstraZeneca declined to deny reports that CEO Pascal Soriot was about to defect to Teva. Soriot, who has led the Anglo-Swedish company since 2012, reportedly met with Teva’s search committee and its chairman to express his agreement to serve as its next CEO. Both companies said they did not comment on market rumors. Moving to a generics drug maker, albeit the world’s largest, would be a big change in direction for French-born Soriot, 58, who had made research-based pharma his whole aim at AstraZeneca. He has rebuilt the company’s drugs pipeline, both through research and acquisitions, to replace lost revenue from a wave of patent expirations on many of its blockbuster medicines in recent years. In London, AstraZeneca’s shares ended down at a two-month low of 49.21 pounds ($192.70). Teva finished 6.8% higher at 117.60 ($33.20) shekels in Tel Aviv. (Reuters)

Pricing for Tamar’s giant IPO due Monday

Tamar Petroleum, the company formed to take over Delek Drilling’s stake in the Tamar gas field, is expected to price its initial public offering by Monday. The company, which is taking control of 9.25% of Tamar for the time being, is expected to raise between $330 million and $420 million, depending on the final price. Executives are meeting with Israel and foreign investors head of the pricing, which, unusually for Israel, will be based on book building that asks investors not only what they are willing to pay for the shares but how many they will take. Delek Drilling will retain up to 40% of Tamar petroleum’s shares, which means it will take up any slack if demand for the stock proves tepid. Ella Fried of Leumi Capital Markets said Tamar petroleum’s leverage was 2.8 times Isramco’s, the other Israeli Tamar partner, and said the IPO was attractive at the lower end of the price range. (Eran Azran)

IC Power Israel files prospectus for offering

After failing to take its parent company public in New York last February, IC Power Israel is moving ahead with its own initial public offering in Tel Aviv. Late on Wednesday it filed a prospectus top sell about $100 million of stocks and bonds in an offering valuing the company at $355 million before the money. IC Power, which operates one power station, developing another and developing photovoltaic projects, isn’t taking chances on the IPO. After the abortive Wall Street IPO, IC Power is determined to sell the shares in its Israel unit: Its four underwriters are required to buy up any and all shares that aren’t sold to the public, with lead underwriter Leumi Partner Underwriting taking half and the others there divvying up the rest. Alternatively, Leumi Partners and Clal Insurance can buy a 20% stake in IC Power Israel in a private placement at about the same valuation of the public offering. (Yoram Gabison) 

Teva rally leads Tel Aviv shares higher

Tel Aviv shares ended sharply higher on Thursday after a mostly dull week boosted by a rally in Teva Pharmaceuticals. The blue chip TA-35 index climbed almost 1% to a close of 1.456.12 points, while the TA-125 added 0.6% to 1,310.85, on turnover of 1.71 billion shekels ($480 million). Cerragon ended sharply higher for a second day after a contract win in India, finishing 4.4% higher at 10.23 shekels. Another big gainers was  Cellcom Israel, which rose 4.3% to 34.54. Bezeq group companies were down again sharply as its controlling shareholders and CEO were put under house arrest (see story on page 15). In foreign currency trading the dollar and euro both lost heavily against the shekel again. The greenback shed nearly 0.6% to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.534 shekels while the euro lost more than 1% to 4.2077. (Omri Zerachovitz)