Business in Brief

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Court convicts PR exec, lawyer of insider trading

The founder and head of Kwan Communications, Zvi Rabin, was found guilty in Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday of 48 counts of using insider information in violation of the securities laws. Guy Penn, a lawyer and friend of Rabin’s, was convicted of 136 counts in the same case for insider trading based on information that Rabin provided to him. Kwan Communications provides a range of PR services, including crisis communications and investor relations. In its ruling, the court said Rabin made use of information about publicly traded companies that had not yet been made public for the purpose of engaging in insider trading. Among Kwan’s clients were Evogene, Alvarion and the one-time firm Aladdin Knowledge Systems. Rabin testified that although he was privy to insider information, he was motivated by a desire to take advantage not of that information but of the slump in stock prices at the time, but he acknowledged using poor judgment. (Jasmin Gueta)

Discount Bank issues profit warning

Israel Discount Bank said it would report its 26% stake in First International Bank of Israel based on its market value in the bank’s fourth-quarter 2013 financial statement, adding that the provision for the drop in value will curb the bank’s net profits by about 135 million shekels ($38.7 million). Discount Bank has agreed to relinquish the right to appoint three directors to the FIBI board as of March of this year. One consequence of the change is the shift in how FIBI shares are valued. The earlier valuation was based on an appraisal by Yoram Eden, a professor of accounting. The agreement between Discount and FIBI also requires Discount to reduce its interest in FIBI from 26% to less than 10% by September of next year, and to less than 5% two years later. (Sivan Aizescu)

FDA approves long-lasting Copaxone

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries shares opened higher on Wednesday after U.S. regulators approved the company’s three-times-a-week multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone. Teva, the world’s largest generics drugmaker, has been banking on a three-times-a-week version of Copaxone ahead of possible competition from generic rivals of the drug this year. Teva has said it plans to covert some 35% of patients - about 30,000 - to the 40-milligram dose administered three times a week from a current daily dose of 20 milligrams by June, and 57% of them by year’s end. “We don’t believe generic penetration of the daily formulation will be rapid,” Cowen and Co. analyst Ken Cacciatore said in a note to clients. “Therefore, the net result should brand Copaxone retention with relatively slow declines thereafter,” he said. “Teva should continue to grind higher.” (Reuters)

TASE closes with losses; Teva, TowerJazz gain

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange closed with losses on Wednesday, as the blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index lost 0.5% to close at 1,308 points and the broader Tel Aviv-100 Index dropped 0.5% to close at 1,204 points. The Banks-5, which was trading up 2% during the course of the day, closed with a 0.4% gain, while the Real Estate-15 lost 0.8% and biomed shares dropped 0.7% Total turnover was a relatively high 1.69 billion shekels ($480 million). Notable shares included Teva, which gained 1.7% after receiving FDA approval for a new version of Copaxone, and TowerJazz, up 6.1% after announcing that it won a five-year contract with the U.S. Air Force. (Shelly Appelberg)

A Teva laboratory. The failure of executives to acquire companies or develop original drugs to replace Copaxone is the story of the company’s downfall.Credit: Bloomberg

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