Business in Brief: Blockchain Mining Unveils $195m Plan to Expand Canadian Facilities

Bank of Israel, New York State to share data on terror finance; Hong Kong company investing in ReWalk; Energy shares lead stocks higher

Blockchain mining: Sebastian Kastner of HydroMiner GmbH handles cable connections between cryptocurrency mining rigs, January 19, 2018.
Akos Stiller / Bloomberg

Israel’s Blockchain Mining said Backbone Hosting Solutions, the Canadian company it is due to merge with soon, has begun work on a two-year project to build a C$250-million-dollar ($195 million) bitcoin mine in Sherbrooke, Ontario. Blockchain didn’t say where the financing, which is worth twice the company’s market capitalization on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, would come from and added, “There is no certainty that Backbone will complete the undertaking.” Backbone, which now operates four server farms in northern Canada, plans to issue C$50 million of two-year debt at 8% in a private placement, but that will cover less than a fifth of the planned investment outlay after fees. Amid cooling interest in cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin Mining shares have fallen by two-thirds from a peak of 65.50 shekels ($18.97) last December. On Sunday they fell another 8.2% to 21.15 shekels. (Guy Erez)

Bank of Israel, New York to share data on money laundering, terror finance

The Bank of Israel said Thursday it signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation with New York State’s Department of Financial Services. The agreement calls for the sharing of information if either side has suspicions of money laundering or terrorism financing, and for an exchange of information and assistance on supervisory matters, the Bank of Israel said. “The Israeli economy, including the banking system, is greatly affected by the global economy, and it is very important to maintain international professional dialogue and cooperation,” said the Bank of Israel’s bank supervisor, Hedva Ber. Israel’s central bank has signed similar agreements with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in the United States, and the Reserve Bank of India. Israel’s Bank Hapoalim and Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank are being investigated by New York for their alleged role in helping Americans evade U.S. taxes. (TheMarker)

ReWalk wins $20 million investment from Hong Kong company

ReWalk, whose exoskeleton devices enable paraplegics to walk, said Thursday that Hong Kong’s Timwell Corporation had agreed to invest $20 million in the company. “This investment from Timwell, a well-capitalized partner with deep local knowledge, enables us to expand the planned launch of the Restore soft suit exoskeleton in the United States and Europe to China,” said ReWalk CEO Larry Jasinski. Rewalk said it would issue 16 million ordinary shares, equal to a 34.7% stake after the dilution, to Timwell at $1.25 a share. That’s a 14% premium to ReWalk’s $1.20 Nasdaq market price, which did not move on the news. The first tranche of $5 million placed in escrow will be released upon shareholder approval of the transaction. A second tranche of $10 million will be paid after the two sides have formed a joint venture in China, with the final tranche paid no later than April 1, 2019. (Yoram Gabison)

Energy shares lead gains for Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Tel Aviv shares rose Sunday as the energy sector rallied on a report that Royal Dutch Shell was in talks to buy gas from the Leviathan field partners. The benchmark TA-35 index ended up 0.9% at 1,494.50 points, while the TA-125 added 0.8% to 1,353.96, on turnover of 601 million shekels ($174.5 million). The Oil and Gas index rose 2.5% to 1,000.95, led by gains of 5.6% to 2.64 shekels by Ratio and 4% to11.49 shekels by Delek Drilling. Bonus Biogroup jumped 11.1% to 63 agorot after winning approval to conduct clinical trials on patients suffering bone loss. Can-Fite fell 8.4% to 2.93 shekels after institutional investors agreed to invest $5 million in the company at $1.50 per American depository receipt. The government housing company Amidar drew orders of 3.5 billion shekels for 900 million shekels in bonds it offered over the weekend. The coupon was set at 1.44%, the lowest ever for a state-owned company. (Guy Erez)