Business in Brief

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Credit: Reuters

War dents corporate bond market in August

Israel’s booming corporate bond market took a break in August amid the fighting in Gaza, with new debt issues dropping 37% below their 2014 average to just 2.2 billion shekels ($620 million), the bond rating agency S&P Maalot said Tuesday. The August figure, which was also weighed down by the second-quarter earnings season, brought total new issues so far this year to about 27 billion shekels, a 13% increase over the same time in 2013. Bezeq alone accounted for about half the August total with its 1.1 billion-shekel bond issue, with Avgol, the maker of non-woven fabrics, adding another 500 million shekels. “We believe that low interest rates will continue to create fertile ground for further [debt] fundraising and even exacerbate the trend,” S&P forecast. (Eran Azran)

Enlight enters Polish wind farm venture

The China-CEE Fund and Enlight Renewable Energy said on Monday they would invest up to 1.3 billion zlotys ($406 million) to buy two Polish wind projects with 250.5 megawatts of installed capacity. A joint venture they are forming will buy the Wroblew wind farm, valued at around 200 million zlotys and due to be completed in November with a capacity of around 36 megawatts, and a second called Project , which is forecast to reach around 214 megawatts, with the first stage to be finalized at the end of 2015. The deal for this wind farm was still undergoing due diligence. Seller GEO Renewables will retain a minority stake in the two farms. Shares of Enlight, which will control 50.1% the joint venture, rose 0.4% to 84 agorot (24 cents) in Tel Aviv. (Reuters)

Teva asthma drug yields positive results

Teva Pharmaceuticals said on Tuesday a drug under development had positive results in reducing the frequency of clinical asthma exacerbations in two trials in patients with moderate to severe asthma. Reslizumab showed statistically significant reductions in the frequency ofepisodes of progressively worsening shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and chest tightness, compared to patients taking a placebo in Phase III studies, the company said. It also demonstrated a positive effect on lung function and asthma control. Michael Hayden, president of research and development, said Teva would apply for approval as soon as possible. Teva estimated the market for severe asthma biotech drugs could exceed $7.5 billion a year in the United States and Europe. Teva shares closed up 0.8% to 188.50 shekels ($52.73). (Reuters)

Mutual fund assets hit record in August

Israel’s mutual fund market resumed its momentum in August despite the fighting in Gaza, with traditional funds raising a net 2.6 billion shekels ($730 million) in the month, double the July figure, Meitav Dash, an investment house that tracks the industry, said Tuesday. August fundraising helped bring mutual fund assets to a record 267 billion shekels, up 70% from two years ago. Alon Agushevitz, CEO of Analyst Mutual Funds, noted that funds suffered net redemptions in the first half of the month, but the trend reversed in the second half as domestic and global shares began rising. Government bond funds led the gains, raising a net 1.6 billion shekels, with mixed funds raising 910 million shekels, Meitav Dash said. . (Dror Reich)

TA-25 gains leave tech stocks behind 

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange extended its gains in heavy trading yesterday, although tech shares were notably absent from the advance. The TA-25 and TA-100 indices both added about 0.5% to end at 1,417.53 and 1,279.88 points, respectively, on turnover of 1.14 billion shekels ($320 million). Africa Israel Investments jumped 7.6% to finish at 6.31 shekels after Midroog raised its credit rating to A3 Stable from Baa1 Positive. The upgraded applied to existing bonds as well as a planned 750 million-shekel issue. Delek Group rose 2.9% to 1,332 shekels and Avgol advanced 3.4% to 3.34. In the fixed-income market, the price of the government’s 10-year shekel bond declined 0.39% to raise its yield to 2.46%. Its inflation-index bond ended down 0.37% to a yield of 0.5%. (Eran Azran)