Business in Brief

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Alberis confirms Spacecom bid, 
declines comment on buyout report

Spanish infrastructure firm Abertis confirmed Thursday that its Hispasat affiliate is bidding for a majority stake in Israel’s Space Communication, operator of the Amos satellites, to boost its international exposure. Abertis is working on the final terms of a deal to buy a controlling 64.4% stake in Spacecom being sold by its main shareholder Eurocom Communications but Abertis said it had yet to reach a deal. The Spanish newspaper Expansion said on Thursday that Abertis’s bid valued Spacecom at 350 million euros ($483.5 million), or a 25% premium to Spacecom’s market valuation. Abertis would buy out the remaining shares and delist the company if its bid were successful. Shares of Spacecom ended down 1.6% at 64.36 shekels ($18.50) in Tel Aviv. (Reuters)

DNA Biomed soars on orphan designation for its hypoparathroidism treatment

DNA Biomedical Solutions said yesterday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had awarded its Entera Bio unit orphan status for its oral treatment for hypoparathyroidisim. Orphan-drug status, granted to treatments for so-called orphan, or rare, diseased or medical conditions, carries with it a number of incentives for pharmaceutical developers. Entera, which is 52%-owned by DNA and the rest by Oramed Pharmaceuticals, said the drug is suitable for about half the 50,000 sufferers of hyperparathyroidism in the United States. Hypoparathyroidisim leads to low blood-calcium levels, causing cramped muscles and involuntary movements. Shares of DNA closed 4.2% higher at 20 agorot (6 cents) in Tel Aviv. In New York, Oramed shares were up 3.4% at midday, at $13.20. (TheMarker Staff)

Renewed Ukraine jitters weigh on shares

Tel Aviv shares reversed course yesterday afternoon to end lower for the day as Ukraine tensions flared. Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow separatists, prompting Russian President Vladimir Putin to warn of “consequences.” The TA-25 index closed 0.2% down, at 1,389.92 points, while the TA-100 fell 0.4% to 1,266,48. Turnover reached a heavy 1.7 billion shekels ($489 million), boosted by the expiry of the Maof index for April. Thursday’s decline left both indices down 1.6% for the holiday-shortened trading week, trimming their year-to-date gains to 4.6% for the TA-25 and 4.9% for the TA-100. Teva Pharmaceuticals dropped 2.5% to 174.80 shekels in active trading while Harel Insurance extended its losses 4% to close at 19.37 shekels. (Eran Azran).