Business in Brief

Bank of Israel holds base rate, buys dollars, Teva, Active still committed to MS treatment.

Bank of Israel holds base rate, buys dollars

The Bank of Israel said on Monday it was leaving its base lending rate unchanged at 1% for February, but signaled its intentions of not letting the shekel strengthen further by intervening in the foreign currency markets. TheMarker has learned that the central bank bought some $250 million Monday afternoon, enabling the dollar to strengthen 0.18% to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.4890 shekels. The greenback gained further in after-hours trading to 3.4904. The euro was steady at 4.7705, appreciating less than 0.1%. In its rate decision, the bank cited slow but somewhat improving economic growth and exports as well as a stronger dollar. “It appears that the Bank of Israel has thrown in the white towel in the global war on weakening domestic currencies,” Eldad Tamir, CEO of the Tamir Fishman investment house, told Reuters. (Eran Azran and Moti Bassok)

RedHill files for $100 million U.S. offering

RedHill Biopharma filed at the end of last week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to sell up to $100 million of American depository shares and another $12.5 million in stock owned by investors. The offering comes just days after Redhill raised $11.7 million in a private placement, boosting its cash holdings to $30 million. That is enough to fund the Phase III clinical trials for its RHD 104 drug for treating Crohn’s disease and RHD 105 for H. Pylori infections. The shares will be sold by OrbiMed Israel Partners and Broadfin Healthcare, which hold 9.9% and 4.3% of the company, respectively. RedHill has four other drugs in its clinical pipeline. RedHill’s Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-traded share ended unchanged at 4.38 shekels ($1.26). (Yoram Gabison)

Teva, Active still committed to MS treatment

Teva Pharmaceuticals and Sweden’s Active Biotech said on Monday that they remain committed to the clinical development of their laquinimod oral multiple sclerosis treatment, even after the European Medicines Agency concluded last week that the drug’s risk-benefit profile was not favorable. The two companies said they will ask the agency to re-examine its opinion and actively pursue certification. Teva, the world’s largest generic drug maker, initially had high hopes for laquinimod, which was viewed as an experimental, neuroprotective medicine with potential to address progressive as well as relapsing MS. Shares of Teva rose 0.9% to 150.90 shekels on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. (TheMarker Staff)

Top Image partners with Xerox Brazil, wins major contract

Top Image, whose technology is used by companies to record and process data from printed and electronic documents, said on Monday that it signed a regional partnership agreement appointing Xerox Brazil as its regional representative, and at the same time said the two had closed a “significant” deal with an unnamed international company. No value was given for the contract, which is to supply Top Image’s mobile imaging application at more than 3,000 retail sites across Brazil. Xerox Brazil will market, sell, deploy and support Top Image products. two companies will work together to organize joint marketing activities such as trade shows, road shows and customer seminars; on the technical side, they will share. Top Image was down 1.8% at $5.43 in late morning New York time in Nasdaq trading. (TheMarker Staff)

Tel Aviv shares rebound from Sunday selloff

Tel Aviv shares defied a sharp downturn in Europe and Asia on Monday to finish higher, helped by early, modest gains on Wall Street. Rebounding from a sharp drop on Sunday, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s benchmark TA-25 index closed up 0.6% at 1,309.67 points while the TA-100 ended at 1,204.68, a gain of 0.5%. Bank shares led a broad turnaround of the market, with Israel Discount Bank up 2% at 6.27 shekels and Bank Leumi adding 1.8% to 13.49 shekels. Mazor Robotics, whose shares were pounded in the last two trading sessions, led TA-100 stocks higher on a gain of 3.1% to 41.90 shekels. The government’s 10-year shekel bond fell 0.14% to raise its yield to 3.51% while its inflation-indexed bond for the same term declined 0.25% to a yield of 1.4%. (Shelly Appelberg) 

Bank of Israel headquarters in Jerusalem.
Tomer Appelbaum