Business in Brief

Under duress, Mega ups pensioners' discount

The Blue Square chain has agreed to increase discounts for pensioners after the National Association of Pensioners threatened to call for a boycott of its Mega chain of supermarkets. Blue Square had planned to reduce the discount applicable to pensioners paying with Mega vouchers from 15% to 13%, but a long list of bodies under the umbrella of the association, including pensioners from Israel Aerospace Industries, Egged, construction workers and many more brandished the boycott threat. The new discount will be 16%. Members of the association spend anything from NIS 10 million to NIS 15 million using Mega vouchers each year, mainly ahead of the Rosh Hashanah and Passover holidays. (Haim Bior )

Plasan Sasa buys U.S. firm for $25 million

Israeli military armor manufacturer Plasan Sasa has acquired the U.S. company Artis. Plasan did not disclose the terms of the deal but industry insiders surmise the company bought 60% of Artis for $20 million to $30 million. Virginia-based Artis is an R&D company employing 40 engineers. Its main claim to fame is the development of the Iron Curtain active protection system for the U.S. Department of Defense. Installed on military all-terrain vehicles and activated by radar-based sensors, Iron Curtain intercepts rockets and missiles by firing steel plates that cause the projectile to explode. Defense Update blogger Tamir Eshel surmises that the acquisition will strengthen Plasan's offerings for vehicle survivability. (Yoram Gabison )

Broadcom buying BroadLight for $230 million

U.S. chipmaker Broadcom has agreed to buy processors developer BroadLight for $230 million. BroadLight provides semiconductors and software for fiber-to-the-premises broadband access networks. The deal is based on a letter of intent signed four months ago. BroadLight, established in 2000, has raised $55 million from investors that include Azure Capital Partners, Benchmark Capital, Motorola Ventures and Star Ventures. This will be Broadcom's 10th acquisition in Israel, including Provigent, which it bought last year for $313 million. (Guy Grimland )

Harel rapped for concealing coverage

Harel Insurance Company received a rebuke in court for concealing a valid insurance policy from a customer for four years. The story begins with a building contractor, Benjamin Ogen, who took out insurance with Harel. As the policy relevant to the issue at stake was expiring, Ogen sought to extend it but never paid the premiums. Harel accordingly warned him that the second policy was not in force. Meanwhile, following an accident in 2004 at one of the buildings Ogen erected, he was sued and even though he hadn't paid the premiums on the second policy he sued for coverage under it. For four years battle was waged in court over the validity of the second policy - yet at no point in that time did Harel mention that regarding the accident, the first policy still applied. Harel only revealed the first policy and its validity under questioning in court. The judge ordered Harel to compensate Ogen to the full extent of the policy. (Jasmin Gueta )

Tnuva chocolate milk is latest labor casualty

Tnuva Food Industries workers are expanding their labor sanctions: Starting today, they said, they won't distribute chocolate milk. They have been refusing to bring the company's cottage cheese to stores all week. Ahiav Simchi, chairman of the Tnuva workers' union, said his meeting with CEO Arik Shor had gone nowhere. The workers want a new collective wage agreement giving them a 5% raise a year, and demand that certain elements of their salaries be included in pension-provision calculations, such as the premiums paid to the company's truck drivers. They also don't like the efficiency plan in the works, which involves firing up to 300 employees. The company commented that it is doing everything in its power to minimize the inconvenience to customers. (Haim Bior )