Business in Brief

Gasoline prices rose last night by 5.9%

Gasoline prices rose by 5.9% at midnight last night, and the price of a liter of 95-octane gas hit NIS 7.70 - for self service. This is a 43-agorot increase from July prices, and is only nine agorot below the record high price in April. The service charge for full service will remain at 16 agorot per liter. The price jump is mostly due to higher world oil prices, though the strengthening of the dollar against the shekel also contributed. The dollar has risen more than 3% against the shekel since the end of June. If the planned VAT increase of 1% had not been postponed to September, gas prices would have risen another seven agorot. These prices are the maximum allowed by law, and the Energy and Water Resources Ministry advises consumers to shop around for better prices. The maximum prices are set once a month at the end of the month based on a complicated formula, using the wholesale gasoline prices in the Mediterranean basin in southern Europe, and the exchange rate for the dollar. (Itai Trilnick )

Babylon's profits rose 11-fold in 2nd quarter

Noam Lanir's software translation company Babylon announce its financial results for the second quarter of the year Tuesday, and they showed impressive growth in profits. Net profits rose 11 times to NIS 22.8 million for the quarter. Operating profit totaled NIS 27 million. Babylon also announced a NIS 50 million dividend. The share has climbed 25% over the past month in anticipation of the financials, though the share responded on Tuesday with a 4.5% drop as it seems investors may have expected even better results. Babylon's market cap also passed the NIS 2 billion level. Revenues for the quarter rose to NIS 159 million, three times those for the same quarter of 2011. The vast majority of revenues - 93% - continued to come from the company's online software and advertising. Sales of software accounted for only NIS 10.1 million. (Oren Freund )

Intel to hire 600 new employees this year

Intel Israel will hire 1,400 workers by the end of 2012, but only 600 of these are new jobs for people in the company's production and development centers. Intel published its corporate responsibility report Tuesday morning, which deals with the company's goals in the areas of employment, environment and education. The report included information on the recruitment figures - and other employment data. For example, only 22% of Intel's employees in Israel are women, though they occupy positions at all levels of the company and 30% of senior mangement are women. Intel hired 65 Arab employees in 2011, and is the largest private employer of Arabs in the country. The company also said it employs over 100 Haredim in Jerusalem, including dozens of women. (TheMarker Staff )

Ceva cuts earnings outlook for 2012

Mobile chip designer Ceva Tuesday cut its 2012 earnings and revenue estimates due to weak sales of second generation mobile handsets, in particular at its key customer Nokia. The company now expects 2012 revenue of $51.9 million to $55.9 million and earnings per share excluding one-off items of 78 to 82 cents, below a May estimate of $57.2 million to $61.2 million and EPS of 87 to 99 cents. CEO Gideon Wertheizer said the second quarter was the first since 2009 that mobile handset sales dropped worldwide. Revenue from royalties was stung by pricing pressures in the 2G market and weakness at Nokia. Wertheizer said he expects Ceva to continue to increase its share of the smartphone market as countries such as China move to 3G. (Reuters )

Zisser names himself CEO of Elbit Imaging

After rescheduling bank debts of NIS 900 million, controlling shareholder and chairman Moti Zisser is taking full hold of the reins of Elbit Imaging, appointing himself CEO, the company said Tuesday. "After a long period in which we focused on ensuring the company's financial stability, it's time to shift gears and return to Elbit Imaging's important, traditional business activities that generate added value for the company," Zisser said in a statement. The previous two co-CEOs, David Machluf and Ran Shtarkman, will manage Elbit's operations overseas, which make up the core of the company's business. One possible reason for the restructuring is that Elbit Imaging's bonds are trading deep in junk territory, at yields between 31% and 35%. (Shelly Appelberg )