Business in Brief

Markstone plans London IPO of jewelry chain; Oil Refineries lost $58m in last quarter of 2013.

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The number of companies traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to pay a dividend rose more than 13% last year.
The number of companies traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to pay a dividend rose more than 13% last year.Credit: Ariel Schalit

Markstone plans London IPO of jewelry chain

The Markstone private equity fund is planning to sell shares in its Magnolia jewelry store chain in an initial public offering in the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market. Markstone hopes to conduct the IPO in May, which values the retailer at 300 million shekels ($86 million), based on the firm’s 2013 financial results, when Magnolia reported revenues of about 250 million shekels and a 35 million shekel operating profit. Markstone plans to sell at least half of Magnolia’s shares in the offer, raising somewhere between 100 million shekels and 150 million shekels. The fund had already made back most of the 140 million shekels it invested in Magnolia six years ago through dividends and interest payments on shareholders’ loans it made, so the IPO will earn it a 100% to 200% return on its investment. (Michael Rochvarger)

Oil Refineries lost $58m in last quarter of 2013

Oil Refineries Limited, Israel’s biggest producer of petroleum products, is continuing to show improved operating results and reducing its leveraging, despite a significant worsening of its business environment and continuing losses. ORL, known as Bazan in Hebrew, said on Monday it had a loss of $58 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, down from a $72 million loss the same time a year ago. Revenues grew by 8.2% year on year to reach $2.6 billion as sales of fuel for transportation rose. This was partially offset by a drop in sales of heavy fuel oil to Israel Electric Corporation as the utility switched to natural gas. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization jumped 125% to $52 million. ORL shares closed 0.8% lower at 90 agorot in Tel Aviv. (Yoram Gabison)

Housing & Construction wins railways tender with German partner

Housing & Construction Limited, a unit of the Arison Group, won the 800 million shekel ($229 million) tender on Monday for laying 100 kilometers of track for three new railway lines mostly in the north, in a consortium with the German firm BD BahnBau. The tender is for equipment and laying tacks for parts of the Acre to Carmiel line, the Valley Train from Haifa to Beit Shean, and a line parallel to Route 531 from Hod Hasharon to Herzliya via Ra’anana. Housing & Construction won the tender against a consortium that included French firm TSO, Spain’s Indra and Israeli TAN. All three projects are now in the earthworks stages, so that the consortium will start work laying railroad ties, communications and fire detection cables, and rails soon, with work scheduled to be completed in 2016. Shares of Housing & Construction fell 1.5%, to 8.50 agorot, in Tel Aviv. (Daniel Schmil)

TA-25 touches 1,400 points before falling back

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s TA-25 index briefly vaulted on Monday to 1,400 points for the first time ever, then pulled back to close 0.6% lower for the day at 1,384.12. The TA-100 fell a sharper 0.8% to 1,273.46 as turnover reached 1.47 billion shekels ($412 million). The biggest losers among TA-100 stocks were the biotech companies Compugen and Clal Biotechnology, both of which ended 7.5% lower at 36.20 shekels and 12.36 shekels, respectively. Babylon plunged 13.3% to c6.49 shekels after Mizrahi Tefahot Bank lowered its rating for the stock to a Sell without setting a target price. Alrov Israel led the gainers on the TA-100, rising 7.4% to close at 152.20 shekels. Controlling shareholder Alfred Akirov said he wanted to merge the company into its Alrov Real Estate & Hotels unit. Alrov Real Estate ended down 3.5% at 111.50 shekels. (Dror Reich)