Business in Brief: Bezeq Profit Drops as Revenues From Internet Top Telephony for First Time

Intec plans trial of Accordion Pill with cannabis ingredients; TowerJazz shares rally on strong second quarter; Drug stocks boost Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp. headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Bloomberg

Bezeq profit drops as revenues from internet top telephony for first time

Bezeq reported a drop in second-quarter profit amid tougher competition, but for the first time ever revenues from internet exceeded its core telephony business. Telephony revenues dropped 5.6% to 374 million shekels while internet revenues rose 2.8% to 398 million. Bezeq added 18,000 broadband internet lines in the second quarter, bringing its total to 1.52 million. All told, Bezeq earned 377 million shekels ($98.5 million) in the quarter, down from 482 million shekels a year earlier as revenue fell to 2.5 billion shekels from 2.6 billion. Revenues were in line with forecasts but net profit was ahead by 20 million shekels. Cellular phone unit Pelephone, which has been struggling to match the super low rates of upstart rivals saw its net profit plummet 73.5% to 13 million shekels as its subscriber base slid to 2.26 million from 2.692 million at the end of March. Shares of Bezeq fell 0.8% to 7.42 shekels at close. (TheMarker Staff)

Intec plans trial of Accordion Pill with cannabis ingredients

Intec Pharma said on Thursday it had begun development of a version of its Accordion Pill that will contain the same active ingredients as marijuana. Clinical trials of the pill to treat pain using THC and CBD will begin early next year, the company said. Intec’s Accordion Pill is folded inside an ordinary capsule, which dissolves in the user’s stomach, allowing the accordion to unfold and release the drug in a controlled manner. The company said the technology should help sufferers who haven’t been able to take advantage of cannabis’ medical qualities because of side effects or because its effect is too short term. “We believe that our Accordion Pill has the potential to provide sustained therapeutic effect from the main cannabinoids, THC and CBD,” said CEO Zeev Weiss. The cannabis pill is the fourth Intech is developing after versions designed for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, insomnia and ulcers of the small intestines. Intec shares ended unchanged at 21.76 shekels ($5.69). (Uri Tomer)

TowerJazz shares rally on strong second quarter 

TowerJazz  shares rallied on Thursday after the chipmaker reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings. The company said adjusted net profit grew to $38.5  million in the quarter, or 45 cents a share, versus $7.8 million, or 10 cents a share a year earlier, boosted by the acquisition of a plant in San Antonio, Texas, and the early repayment of bank loans. Revenue grew 29 percent to a record $305 million. Both figures were ahead of forecasts of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S., who had expected earnings of 34 cents a share on revenue of $300 million. TowerJazz said it expected third-quarter revenues would be about $325 million, 33% up a on the year and ahead of current analyst projections for $310 million and EPS of 37 cents. “Our major focus remains those trends that drive the internet of things, namely seamless connectivity, low power consumption and sensors,” said CEO Russell Ellwanger. TowerJazz closed up 5.5% at 55.10 shekels ($14.41). (Omri Zerachovitz)

Drug stocks boost  Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Drug stocks lifted the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange higher on Thursday as the Bank of England cut interest rates and restarted bond purchases in a bid to ease the economic hit from June’s vote to leave the European Union. The TASE’s TA-25 index ended the day up 0.4% ar 1,456.41 points while the TA-100 gained close to 0.6% to 1,274.72, on turnover of 1.22 billion shekels ($320 million). Teva Pharmaceuticals led the most actives, rising 1.5% to 207.80 after reporting quarterly earnings (see story on page 16). Mylan was ahead 2% to 186.50 by close and Perrigo added 2.25 to 359.50. Plasson led losers on the TA-100, shedding 2.4% to 103.60. Others in the minus column were The Israel Corporation, which fell 1.9% to 616.20, and Frutarom, which lost 1.6% to 1920.60. In foreign currency trading, the euro slid 0.6% against the shekel to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.2580 shekels. (Uri Tomer)