Business in Brief

Itzik Ben-Malki

Mirland posts $90 million quarterly loss on Russia property woes

Mirland, the financially troubled Russian real estate company controlled by Eliezer Fishman, posted a $90 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2014 and attached a “going concern” warning to its report. The loss came after the company wrote down $170 million from the value of its property portfolio in the wake of a 72% drop in the ruble against the dollar and a hike in Russian interest rates to as much as 17%. The company is in talks with bondholders about stretching out repayment on some $200 million in debt to four years, but meantime it classified the debt as current, meaning it is due within the year, as it did another $182 million it owed to Russian banks because the company no longer meets the financial terms of its loan agreements. Mirland had negative equity of $316 million and negative cash flow of $30 million at the end of December. Shares of Mirland, which lost about $63 million for all of 2014, ended down 1.9% to 51 pence (75 cents) in London. (Michael Rochvarger)

Hadera Paper posts another year of losses

Hadera Paper posted a second year of losses on Thursday, saying it ended 2014 with 154 million shekels ($38.2 million) in the red. The loss, more than double its 75-million-shekel loss in 2013, was due to some 163 million shekels in write-downs the company took on its printing, writing and packaging paper operations and closing down its JHRC unit. Some of those losses were offset by a 65-million-shekel gain from selling land adjacent to its Hadera plant. Sales fell 3.6% in 2014, to 1.75 billion shekels, while shareholders equity contracted 20%, to 585 million shekels. “The company over 2014 took significant steps, among them closing loss-making operations, which came as a cost to short-term profits while also undertaking cost-cutting measures and selling non-core assets while improving our financial strength,” said chairman Johanan Locker. Shares of Hadera Paper, which have tumbled 60% in the past year, closed down 3.6% on Thursday to end at 70.73 shekels. (Eran Azran)

Oil Refineries swings to profit as petroleum prices plummet

Oil Refineries, Israel’s largest refining and petrochemicals group, moved to a profit in the fourth quarter of 2014, after a 40% drop in the price of crude oil. The group on Thursday reported an adjusted net profit of $79 million in the quarter, compared to an adjusted loss of $56 million a year earlier, even as revenue dropped to $2.17 billion from $2.57 billion. Oil Refineries’ adjusted refining margin was $9.80 a barrel in the quarter, compared to the average Reuters’ quoted Mediterranean Ural Cracking Margin of $3.90 a barrel. The group’s margin a year ago was $5.30 a barrel. Shares of Oil Refineries, which is controlled by the Israel Corporation closed up 5.1% on Thursday, at 1.40 shekels (35 cents). (Reuters)