Business in Brief

Average wage rose 3.9% from June to August

The average wage in August was NIS 8,994, reflecting 3.9% growth from June to August at an annualized rate, the Central Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. This followed 3.7% growth over the previous three months. Also, despite signs of a slowdown in the economy, the number of wage earners increased during the period at an annualized rate of 1.6%. The highest average gross monthly wage was in the electricity and water sector - NIS 22,292. In second place was the financial sector, including banking, insurance and investment firms, where the average wage was NIS 14,879. The lowest average wage was paid in the hospitality and food sector - NIS 4,256 - though hotel employees usually earn much more than food-sector workers. (Haim Bior )

Hutchison Whampoa, Ben-Dov settle claims from unraveling of Partner deal

Ilan Ben-Dov's Suny Electronics and its Scailex subsidiary, the parent firm of Partner Communications, have come to an agreement with Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa for a mutual release of claims. The settlement follows Hutchison's withdrawal last summer from a complicated transaction through which the Hong Kong company would have reacquired the mobile service provider Partner, which does business in Israel as Orange. Hutchison had claimed that it pulled back from the deal due to problems that it said it found in examining the company's books in advance of the acquisition. The findings were not fully disclosed to the stock exchange by Suny or Scailex. Ben-Dov had threatened to take legal action against Hutchison for pulling out of the deal. In addition, Israeli-American businessman Haim Saban has expressed an interest in acquiring a stake in Partner, but it was clear that such a prospect was not realistic without a settlement with Hutchison. Scailex must repay a loan of about $300 million to the Hong Kong firm by April 2014 and doubts have been expressed over its ability to do so. (Michael Rochvarger )