Business in Brief

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A drilling platform in Tamar, another Israeli-run offshore natural gas fieldCredit: Albatross

Teva gets second FDA approval in a week

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said Tuesday it had won his second drug approval in less than a week from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company said the FDA has approved a version of its Granix for injection by patients and their caregivers, which it plans to release early in 2015. The current syringe for Granix, which is used to treat severe cases of the blood disorder neutropenia, is labeled for injection by a health-care professional only. The new approval will means physicians will be able to prescribe Granix for home use. The clearance comes just four days after the FDA approved a lower-dose version of Teva’s QNASL allergy drug for use by children. The children’s version is expected to be available by prescription in February, Teva said. Shares of Teva rose 0.85% to close at 216 shekels ($55.16) in Tel Aviv. (Yoram Gabison)

Fishman looking for investor for struggling Home Center retail chain 

Eliezer Fishman, whose business group is under pressure from the collapse of the Russian ruble, is seeking to sell all or part of his 90% stake in Home Center, the Israeli franchisee of the U.S. home improvement retail chain, TheMarker has learned. Fishman is even weighing offers for a stake in his entire retail group, which includes chains such as Toys”R”Us Israel and Best Buy. Fishman’s son, Eyal, has been telling potential Home Center investors that they are seeking a capital injection of 150 million shekels to 200 million shekels ($25.5 million to $51 million), according to candidates who have been approached. That would help cover the more than 300 million shekels in bank and bond debt the retailer is carrying, including 130 million shekels due bondholders over the next two years. Fishman personally guaranteed the bonds, which were issued to institutional investors seven years ago, and would like to share the obligation with the new investor. Like other retailers, Home Center has been struggling in a highly competitive market the past two years. (Adi Dovrat-Meseritz and Michael Rochvarger

Maalot downgrades Discount rating to BBB

Standard & Poor’s Maalot on Tuesday lowered its credit rating for Discount Investment Corporation, one of the two big subsidiaries of the financially embattled IDB group. Maalot cut Discount’s debt to BBB from BBB-plus but said the outlook for the debt was Stable, saying it was confident Discount could meet repayments due over the next 18 months. Maalot ascribed the downgrade to a 23% decline in Discount’s assets, which include companies like Supersol and Cellcom Israel, since September 1. The abortive initial public offering in agrochemical maker Adama was another blow. That caused Discount’s debt to reach 83% of equity, a 13 percentage point increase from the last time Midroog rated Discount. Shares of Discount, whose shares have dropped 70% in the last three months leaving it with a market capitalization of just 675 million shekels ($172.4 million), dropped 2.7% to end at 7.71 shekels on Tuesday. (Michael Rochvarger)

Energy shares take toll on TA-25 again

Energy shares weighed heavily on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange for the second day running Tuesday as Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo confirmed he was seeking to break up the natural gas monopoly (see story on this page). The benchmark TA-25 index recovered from early lows, but by the end of the session was down 0.9^% at 1,467.76 points as 1.78 billion shekels ($455 million) in shares changed hands. The TA-100 index closed 1.1% down at 1,297.63 points. Five of the six biggest losers on the TA-100 were energy companies, although Elco was No. 6, dropping sharply for a second session to end at 22.07 shekels, down 6.9% on the day. O Frutarom climbed 2.5% to end at 114 shekels on news that it has purchased Vitiva, a Slovenian maker of flavors, for approximately $10 million in cash. Elbit rose 1.7% to 229 shekels after it received a subcontract from the Brazilian navy to upgrade Grumman C-1A aircraft for $106 million. The government’s 10-year shekel bond declined 0.59% to boost its yield to 2.3%.  (Omri Zerachovitz