Business in Brief / Israel's Communications Ministry Opposes Cellular Network-sharing Plan

Jerusalem Economy loses NIS 375 million in 4th quarter over Russia investments; TASE shares rise, particularly towards close.

Tali Mayer

Communications Min. opposes 4G Cellcom, Golan network-sharing

The Communications Ministry is opposing the current plan by competing cellular service providers Cellcom Israel and Golan Telecom to jointly build a 4th generation transmission network, and is demanding changes. If it comes to fruition, a shared network would save the two companies sizeable sums. Cellcom announced yesterday that the ministry is requiring substantial changes to the plan before it examines it in detail. There are 10 required changes in all, TheMarker has learned, but only one involves a substantial alteration. The proposed agreement calls for the two companies to set up a corporate joint venture to operate the 4th generation network, but the ministry wants the venture to run a joint 3rd generation network for the two companies as well. (Amitai Ziv)

Jerusalem Economy loses NIS 375 million in 4th quarter over Russia investments

Jerusalem Economy reported that it lost 375 million shekels ($94.4 million) in the 4th quarter of 2014 compared to a 25-million-shekel profit in the comparable quarter the year before. The primary reason for the huge loss was the collapse of the Russian ruble after world oil prices plummeted and international sanctions were placed on Russia over its policies toward Ukraine. Jerusalem Economy controls a number of companies operating in Russia and Ukraine, and the collapse of the ruble raised its net financing costs to 699 million shekels in the 4th quarter compared to 184 million in 4th-quarter 2013. The firm, which is controlled by Eliezer Fishman, noted that it has unencumbered assets such as investment real estate with a fair market value of 414 million shekels as of the time of its financial report, shares in Industrial Building Corp. worth 460 million, and shares of Darban Investments with equity capital of 1.03 billion shekels. (Yoram Gabison)

TASE shares rise, particularly towards close

Stocks on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange rose generally, particularly late in the trading day. The benchmark Tel Aviv-25 index closed 1.2% higher at 1,613.38 points while the Tel Aviv-100 index was up nearly 1% to 1,411.02. Trading volume was a light 512.7 million shekels ($129 million). Flavor manufacturer Frutarom was among the gainers on the TA-25 index with a rise of 3.6%, while Osem was up 2.3% against the backdrop of its earnings report. (See coverage above). Africa Israel Industries rose 5.5% following the company’s disclosure that it had discovered a mistake in its financial report, while Afcon Holdings jumped 12.5% after it released its financials. (Omri Zerachovitz)