Business in Brief

Prices for Coca-Cola products to rise soon

Central Bottling Company, the maker of Coca-Cola and other soft drinks, said yesterday it was planning to raise the price of its products by an average of 5.7% sometime in the next month. Citing sharply higher costs for inputs, Central Bottling becomes the third major food company to announce price rises, after Unilever Israel and Osem. The company said the increases will not include Tara dairy products, its new line of Fuze ice tea drinks, Prigat Ocean Spray, Tabor wines, Smirnoff Ice or Kinley soda in 1.5 liter bottles, which Central also sells. Supermarket executives interviewed by TheMarker said they were surprised by the move. (Gabriela Davidovich-Weisberg )

Maariv's trustees suggest staff make bid for newspaper

The trustees appointed to operate Maariv suggested to employees that they make a bid to buy the financially troubled publishing group. In an e-mail to the staff, attorneys Shlomo Ness and Yaron Arbel said employees had until October 9 to formulate a bid before the trustees go to the Tel Aviv District Court with a list of offers. "We are making every effort to find a buyer at the best possible price who can both operate the newspaper and employ the largest number of people," the attorneys wrote, saying they had been approached by senior journalists with the idea of a staff buyout. The court ordered a stay of proceedings on Maariv last month that remains in effect until October 23. (Hila Raz )

Conduit, Wix make global list of 100 most valuable start-ups

Two Israeli start-ups, Conduit and Wix, made Business Insider's Digital 100 list of the world's most valuable private technology companies, the business website reported yesterday. Conduit, whose cloud-based tools are used by web and mobile publishers, was ranked 25th and Wix, a maker of website development technology, was placed 65th in a ranking that takes into account the companies' valuation based on fundraising rounds, financial performance, market size and shares and growth rate. Last April, the Yozma Fund sold a 7% stake in Conduit for a price that valued the company at $1.3 billion, although its valuation probably has since dropped, Business Insider said. It estimated Wix had sales of $40 million, valuing it at $310 million. (Bar Ben Ari )

Clal Insurance to stop paying dividends

Clal Insurance Enterprises will stop distributing dividends until its capital exceeds 120% of the regulatory limit, its parent company IDB Development Corporation said yesterday morning after its bond rating was downgraded. The decision, however, will not affect a dividend that Clal Insurance is expected to pay from the proceeds of the sale of the U.S. reinsurance company Guard, which Warren Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway agreed to buy for $221 million. The rating company S&P Maalot downgraded Clal Insurance bonds from A to BBB +, citing the deteriorating financial condition of its parent group, IDB. (Dror Reich and Shelly Appelberg )

Four Israeli defense companies score poorly on corruption

Israel's defense industry scores low by international standards in the fight against corruption, Transparency International said, citing financial statements, media reports and information provided by the companies to the global corruption-monitoring group. The organization's 2011 rating of 129 global defense companies with revenues exceeding $100 million a year included four Israeli companies, none of which had a passing grade (on a scale of A for companies that take active anti-corruption measures to F for those that do little to nothing ). Elbit Systems and Rafael both got D ratings while Israel Aerospace Industries and Israel Military Industries each scored F. Transparency said the entire global armaments industry is riddled with corruption, with big defense deals often contingent on equally big bribes to relevant officials. (Ora Coren )