Business in Brief

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Bram boosts sales fourfold selling to Wal-Mart and Target

Bram Industries, a maker of plastic products, is expecting sales to grow fourfold from four years ago this year to 110 million shekels ($30.4 million) thanks to its success in selling to some the world’s leading retailers. CEO Eli Bramli said the company has sold its kitchenware and food-storage products to chains like Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot in the United States and Europe. Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, accounts for most of the recent growth. “It took us years to make the connection. We had to conduct a lot of meetings in Arkansas. What got us a foot in the door was the fact that we make unique products, different from anything else in the market,” Bramli said, referring to items such as a thermal lunchbox. Recently Phoenix Insurance has become an investor in the company, with a 15% stake it bought from controlling shareholders for 10 million shekels. Bram’s first-half net profit was just 640,000 shekels, which Bramli attributed to retooling costs. Bram shares fell 3.8% to close at 3.33 shekels in Tel Aviv. (Eran Azran)

Clal Biotechnology says it knew nothing about alleged fraud at Andromeda

Ruben Krupik, the CEO of Clal Biotechnology, whose stock has plunged close to 50% in the past two days, told investors he doesn’t know how the alleged fraud in clinical trials of a Diabetes drug at the company’s Andromeda Biotech unit could occur behind his back. Speaking to investors who showered him with questions a day after the U.S. drug firm Hyperion backed out of a deal to buy the unit, Krupik said, “I was very surprised to hear about it. In order to respond correctly to the news I will need to get more information. Hyperion’s language was very strong concerning the activities of several Andromeda employees. We don’t know which employees they were speaking about or even if the event in fact occurred.” He said Clal’s board, which was due to meet on Wednesday, would do everything it can to deal with the crisis. Hyperion acquired Andromeda for $12.5 million in cash and $7.85 million in stock, plus potential milestone payments of about $570 million. On Tuesday, a class action suit seeking 127.6 million shekels ($35.2 million) in damages was filed. Clal Biotech stock finished down 5.6% to 4.16 shekels in Tel Aviv. (Shelly Appelberg)

TA-25 edges down; bond prices correct

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s TA-25 index made a brief bid to resume its rally Wednesday, but gave up in late afternoon. The benchmark index ended at 1,422.85 points, a drop of less than 0.1%. The TA-100 finished down 0.2% at 1,282.44 as some 970 million shekels ($267.8 million) in shares changed hands. Teva Pharmaceuticals led the most actives on a decline of 1.5% to 184.60 shekels. TowerJazz lost 4% to end at 41.28 shekels, and Perion Network dropped 4.1% to 22.66. Camtek jumped 8.4% to 15.51 shekels after winning a $3 million order for semiconductor-inspection gear. The fixed-income market saw a sharp correction, with the government’s 10-year shekel bond dropping 0.54% to raise its yield to 2.49%. Its inflation-linked bond due in 2023 fell 0.47% to a yield of 0.55%. The dollar strengthened 0.14% to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.6140 shekels, while the euro jumped almost 0.6% to 4.6802. (Shelly Appelberg)