Business in Brief

Teva plans to launch 3 block-buster drugs this year, Harel enjoys financial gains and Tel Aviv shares close flat.

Teva's headquarters in Jerusalem.
Bloomberg

Teva to launch 3 block-buster drugs in 2014

Teva Pharmaceuticals is launching three new products this year with combined estimated peak sales of $1 billion, CEO Erez Vigodman told a biomed conference yesterday. One of the products is Zecuity, a migraine patch Teva acquired when it bought NuPathe earlier this year. The other two are Adasuve, an inhalation powder to treat agitation in patients with schizophrenia that Teva licensed from Alexza, and DuoResp Spiromax, an inhaler. Vigodman said Teva has 15 products in advanced Phase III clinical trials or in approval process and four in Phase II trials, which will help drive organic growth. Teva will also focus in 2014 on “fixing the company’s foundation.” including implementing cost-cutting measures, and position itself for long-term value creation. Teva shares rose 0.4% to close at 172.20 shekels ($49.45) in Tel Aviv. (Reuters)

Bezeq raises profit forecast after Yad2 sale

Bezeq raised its 2014 profit forecast yesterday to reflect the sale of its Yad2 classified ads web site to Axel Springer Digital Classifieds. Israel’s largest telecoms group now sees net profit of 2 billion shekels ($579.2 million) and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 4.5 billion shekels after taking into account a 116.5 million-shekel charge for early retirement of 101 workers. In March, Bezeq forecast a 2014 net profit of between 1.6 billion and 1.7 billion shekels, down from 1.77 billion shekels in 2013 and EBITDA of 4 billion shekels. Bezeq’s Walla unit yesterday completed the sale of Yad2 for 805 million shekels. Shares of Bezeq finished down 1.3% at 6.20 shekels in Tel Aviv. (Reuters)

Financial gains lift Harel Insurance earnings

Harel Insurance reported yesterday that first-quarter net profit climbed more than 40% to 281 million shekels as its capital market operations enjoyed an annual return of 22% and inflation was lower. Premiums from its health insurance business, which accounts for about a third of the total, grew 11% to 845 million shekels but profit in the segment was flat at 59 million shekels. General insurance profits jumped 140% to 147 million shekels thanks to returns on its portfolio. The value of new business generated by Harel in the quarter increased 23% on the year to 1.2 billion shekels, it said. “The big improvement in our financial operations is proof that our strategy of buying the mutual fund and portfolio management business of Clal Insurance succeeded,” said co-CEO Michael Siboni. Harel shares advanced 2.5% to a 20.55-shekel close in Tel Aviv. (Assa Sasson)

Tel Aviv shares end flat; dollar strengthens

Tel Aviv shares ended barely changed yesterday, with banks and property shares ending lower in a quiet market. Less than 860 million shekels in shares changed hands, marking the fourth session in five with turnover under 1 billion shekels. The TA-25 index edged up 0.03% to a close of 1.387.75 points while the TA-100 added 0.08% to 1,250.66. Pluristem closed 1.9% up to 12.09 shekels after South Korea cleared the company’s its new facility in Haifa for cells to be used by Korean sites in a large Phase II clinical trial now underway. Mall developer Melisron dropped 3% to 88.77 after its British-Israel unit said first-quarter profit dropped 24%. In the forex market, the dollar strengthened 0.4% to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.468 shekels. (Dror Reich)