Business in Brief: Blue Chips Lead Tel Aviv Stocks Higher

Noble to decide on Leviathan in a year; Mobileye shares rally on big rise in profit; Despite IDB, Ben-Moshe investing in Israel; Bramly’s obligations put at NIS 290 million.


Noble to decide on Leviathan in a year

Noble Energy said late on Monday it would make a final investment decision on the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields in Israel in about a year’s time. The deadline was disclosed after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enabled Aryeh Dery to step down as economy minister and clear the way to waive antitrust objections to a deal the government reached with Noble and its partners. “[Tuesday's] announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office is a further indication of the commitment to moving forward with gas development,” Noble’s CEO David Stover told a conference call with investors. Stover said that initial production would take about three to four years from the final investment decision. The framework deal reached in August gives control of Israel’s largest gas field, Leviathan, to a consortium led by Noble and Delek. Leviathan was initially slated to begin production in 2018 with most of the gas earmarked for exports. Noble shares were up 3.2% at $39.17 late morning local time in New York. (Reuters)

Mobileye shares rally on big rise in profit

Mobileye shares rallied Tuesday after the maker of crash-prevention technology for cars more than tripled its net profit in the third quarter, handily beating Wall Street’s forecasts. The company said that profit, not counting non-cash share compensation, rose to $34.9 million, or 15 cents a share, from $9.7 million, or 4 cents a share, the same time in 2014. Revenue for the quarter more than doubled to $70.6 million. That compared with an average estimate by analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research for earnings of 13 cents a share on revenue of $64.5 million. Shares were up 3.1% at $46.96 late morning local time in New York. In related news, Israeli Transportation Minster Yisrael Katz denied he was unfairly giving a boost to Mobileye by backing a government program to subsidize the installation of crash-prevention technology in older cars. “I’m not trying to advance the interest of any company — believe me, they don’t need my help,” Katz said. (Omri Zerachovitz and Oren Dori)

Despite IDB, Ben-Moshe investing in Israel 

Moti Ben-Moshe, who lost 520 million shekels ($134 million) in a losing struggle for control of the IDB group, remains committed to Israeli ventures. Ben-Moshe, who made his fortune in Germany, put $50 million into the AMI Fund managed by the British private equity fund by Apax Partners, TheMarker has learned. Among other investors in the $500 million fund, which invests in medium-sized Israeli companies, are Leumi Partners, Poalim Capital Markets and Discount Capital Markets, which each put in tens of millions of dollars. Institutional investors from the United States and Singapore invested, too, as did a group of Apax general partners. AMI made its first investment in July, buying Zap Group for 145 million shekels. Sources said Ben-Moshe reportedly made one other major Israel investment in the last 18 months they declined to name. (Shelly Appelberg)

Bramly’s obligations put at NIS 290 million

Amir Bramly, whose investment empire is both under an Israel Securities Authority investigation and in receivership, has obligations of 290 million shekels ($74.9 million) to investors against assets valued at just tens of millions of shekels, Erez Haver, the court-appointed receiver for Bramly’s Kela Fund and Rubicon Group, estimated on Monday. Bramly’s lawyer, Shaul Kutler, blamed the Securities Authority, incessant media attention and agreements violated by Bank Hapoalim for the collapse of his client’s business, and called for a meeting of investors to agree on a bailout. However, his request was rejected at a hearing Tuesday by Judge Eitan Orenstein, who said there were no proper financial reports for the group to show investors. “The controlling shareholder hasn’t fled, hasn’t disappeared and isn’t abandoning responsibility for the situation,” Kutler said. (Shelly Appelberg)

Blue chips lead Tel Aviv stocks higher

Tel Aviv shares ended higher Tuesday, led by blue chips Teva Pharmaceuticals and Israel Chemicals. The TA-25 and TA-100 indices both rose about 0.3% to finish at 1,582.72 and 1,370.34 points, respectively, as 1.13 billion shekels ($292 million) in shares changed hands. Teva advanced 2.9% ro 240.20 shekels while ICVL added 1.8% to 21. Telco stocks, which have been rallying on hopes for an industry consolation, fell back Tuesday — Bezeq led the decliners on a 3.4% drop to 8.25 shekels and Partner Communications lost 2.6% to 18.29. Bond prices were weaker, with the government’s 10-year shekel bond losing 0.52% to raise its yield to 2.12%. (Eran Azran)