Business in Brief

Ilan Assayag

Prosecutors inclined to indict Nochi Dankner 

The State Prosecutors Office is leaning toward indicting Nochi Dankner for securities fraud, TheMarker has learned. The final decision will be made within a few days. Dankner allegedly tried to manipulate the price of shares in IDB, which he then controlled but has since lost. The charges against him will most likely include securities fraud, filing a false prospectus, violating financial reporting regulations, and illegal use of assets and money laundering. Dankner was questioned by Israel Securities Authority investigators in November 2012 concerning a 321 million shekel stock issue of IDB in February 2012. The ISA recommended indicting Dankner in July 2013, and the file was transferred to the State Prosecutor’s Office then. Dankner was given a hearing in April. The Justice Ministry said: “No decision has yet been made as to the claims raised in the hearing, and in any case [no decision has been made] about filing an indictment.” (Jasmin Gueta)

Postal bondholders want debt restructured

Bondholders of the state-owned Israel Postal Company are planning to turn to the court to force the government to begin debt restructuring talks. The move comes after bondholders, who hold about 354 million shekels ($102 million) in debt, received a report forecasting that the Postal Company would become insolvent with 10 to 12 months. Bondholders had asked the Finance Ministry to provide assistance to them until the Postal Company completes in internal restructuring designed to cut costs. They are concerned about the precedent set by the government-controlled agricultural-export company Agrexco, which declared itself bankrupt in 2011 after bondholders refused an offer to write off 85% of the 20 million-euro ($27 million) debt. (Yoram Gabison)

Azrieli selling Sonol to Shlomo Shmeltzer

Real estate developer Azrieli Group said on Wednesday it agreed to sell energy unit Sonol Israel to holding company S. Shlomo Holdings, controlled by Shlomo Shmeltzer, for 450 million shekels ($130 million). Sonol, which is fully owned by Azrieli subsidiary Granite HaCarmel, distributes refined petroleum products and operates a nationwide chain of service stations. Azrieli has numerous investments in Israel, including several shopping malls. It said it would receive 400 million shekels at the closing of the deal and the remaining 50 million through a loan granted to Granite. Shlomo will conduct due diligence for the next 45 days before deciding whether to close the deal — and there will be no financial penalty if either side does not close the deal. The deal is part of Azrieli’s strategy to stick to its core real estate business, which means selling all or part of Granite. (Michael Rochvarger and Reuters)

TASE slumps on cold winds from overseas

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange lost ground Wednesday on cold winds from Europe and the United States. The blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index lost 0.4% to close at 1,401 points, while the broader Tel Aviv-100 Index also lost 0.4% to close at 1,261 points. The Banks-5 lost 0.8%, and the Real Estate-15 was off 0.6%. Total turnover was 995 million shekels. In the global financial sphere, the World Bank cut its world growth forecast for the year to 2.8%, down from 3.2%, amid more pessimistic forecasts from the American, Russian and Chinese economies. Notable local shares included the Azrieli group, which lost 1.6% a day after it signed an agreement to sell gas station chain Sonol to Shlomo Shmeltzer. Super-Sol lost 2.6% amid reports that it intends to close branches and lay off employees. (Shelly Appelberg)