The Ticker / Bright Food on Track to Buy Tnuva by April

Mobileye rallies on strong 4th-quarter profit; Elsztain offers arbitration in IDB dispute

Tnuva cottage cheese on display in a minimarket fridge.
Tali Mayer

Mobileye rallies on strong 4th-quarter profit

Mobileye shares rose sharply on Thursday in New York after the maker of anti-collision technology beat analysts’ estimates for fourth-quarter profit. The company reported profit, not counting share-based compensation expenses, of $13.3 million, or 6 cents a share, on revenues of $39.7 million. Although profit was down from $16.7 million a year ago, earnings were still 1 cent ahead of the average forecast of analysts polled by Capital IQ. Revenues rose 26.4% from a year earlier and were also ahead of estimates for $36.37 million. “During 2014, we significantly enhanced our technology leadership with the addition of new driver safety functionality,” said CEO Ziv Aviram. “We believe we are well-positioned to maintain our momentum longer-term.” Mobileye shares were up 2.9% at $36.32 in mid-day local time in New York. (TheMarker Staff)

Bright Food on track to buy Tnuva by April

China’s Bright Food Group has increased the stake it plans to buy in Israeli grocer Tnuva to 70% and plans to close the delayed deal by early April, a spokesman for the Chinese firm told Reuters on Thursday. “The delay of the Tnuva transaction is due to changes in the equity structure of the purchase,” Bright Food spokesman Pan Jianjun said, declining to give the total value of the deal. Last May, Bright Food agreed to buy 56% of Tnuva from British private equity firm Apax Partners in a deal that valued the Israeli food maker at about $2.5 billion. However, the deal for Israel’s largest food firm has already been delayed, raising concerns that Bright could withdraw. (Reuters)

Elsztain offers arbitration in IDB dispute

Eduardo Elsztain has offered Moti Ben-Moshe, his partner in IDB Development Corporation, to arbitrate their dispute over Ben-Moshe’s demand he sell him shares Elsztain acquired in a rights offering this month. Elsztain said on Thursday the process should take no more than 45 days using a mutually agreeable candidate as arbitrator. Elsztain also proposed that Ben-Moshe inject 300 million shekels ($75.9 million) in capital into IDB and suspended his demand that directors representing Ben-Moshe on the conglomerate’s board step down. Ben-Moshe declined to participate in the rights issue that ended up diluting his controlling stake in IDB down to just 16% and is demanding that Elsztain sell him half their shares the latter bought. IDB shares ended down 1.7% at 1.69 shekels. (Michael Rochvarger)

TA-25 posts 4.4% advance for February

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange ended higher again on Thursday in heavy trading, boosted by low interest rates and expectations they may go even lower. The benchmark TA-25 index closed at another record high of 1,517.94 points, a gain of 0.6% for the day and 4.4% for the month. The TA-100 also rose 0.6%, capping a 5.3% gain for the month, to finish at 1,343.78. Trading volume swelled to just over 2 billion shekel ($510 million due to the expiry of the February Maof options contract at 1,514.98 points. Volume leader Bank Leumi rose 2.5% to close at 13.84 shekels a day after warning it would show near-zero profit for the fourth quarter. Ormat technologies gained 4.4% to 131.50 shekels, although it reported a day earlier that fourth-quarter profit was down and below analysts’ expectations. Bezeq was ahead 1.4% to 6.39 shekels and Shapir Engineering, up 3.4% to 5.99. (Dror Reich)