Business in Brief / Check Point Bests Forecast for Quarterly Profit

Hapoalim to increase dividend to 20% of annual profit; Insuline shares collapse on planned offering; Bank, tech shares lead TASE higher.

check point
Moti Milrod
Check Point bests forecast for quarterly profit
 
Check Point Software Technologies on Monday reported quarterly profit that topped expectations on higher sales and said it would accelerate its focus on threat prevention and mobility. Check Point earned 95 cents a share excluding one-time items in the first quarter, up from 84 cents a year earlier. Revenue grew 9%, to $373 million, the Tel Aviv-based company said.
 
Check Point was forecast to have earned 91 cents a share on revenue of $370 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Check Point has acquired two Israeli companies since the start of the year. In February it bought cybersecurity startup Hyperwise and earlier this month it said it was buying Lacoon Mobile Security to help prevent cyberattacks on mobile phones.
 
“We increased our development, sales and marketing teams to capitalize on the expanding security market opportunity. We expect these investments to continue through the coming quarters,” CEO Gil Shwed said. Check Point shares were up 5.2%, at $86.03, midday local time in New York. (Reuters)
 
Hapoalim to increase dividend to 20% of annual profit
Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest lender, said Monday it was raising its dividend payout to 20% of annual net earnings from 15% after it won approval from Banks Supervisor David Zaken. Hapoalim, which got the go-ahead after a year of negotiations with Zaken, said even with the enlarged payout it would be able to reach a core Tier 1 capital ratio to risk-weighted assets of 10.2% by January 2017, as required by Bank of Israel regulations.
 
Hapoalim had been seeking to raise the ceiling to 30% and still apparently hopes to convince the banks supervisor to agree by saying Monday it had set a new and ambitious target for Tier 1 capital of 10.75% for the end of 2017. Banks are required to reach a Tier 1 capital adequacy ratio of 9% by the start of 2015, but Hapoalim and rival Leumi, the two biggest, must reach 10% by that date. Hapoalim shares finished up 2%, at 19.82 shekels ($5.03). (Sivan Aizescu)
 
Insuline shares collapse on planned offering
Insuline Medical shares plunged 29% in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange trading Monday after the maker of innovative technology for administering insulin filed a prospectus to sell shares and warrants. The company said it planned to raise 4.5 million shekels ($1.1 million) in an offering of 250,000 units comprising 100 shares and Series 4 warrants at 18 shekels apiece.
 
The warrants can be exercised until next December at a price of 36 agorot a piece, a 26.5% premium of Insuline’s opening share price Monday. However, the effective price of the offering values the shares at 10.215 agorot, a 64% discount on the opening price. The company suffered a serious setback in March when Germany’s insurance regulator rejected its Insupad as a device that can be covered by insurers. Shares of Insuline closed at 20 agorot. (Yoram Gabison)
 
Labor Court bars layoffs at Israel Chemicals for now
 
The National Labor Court on Monday ordered Israel Chemicals not to lay off any employees. As a result, a hearing on the approximately 280 job cuts opposed by Israel Chemicals unions will continue at the regional labor court in Be’er Sheva next week. Unions have been striking since February after management said it wanted to dismiss 140 employees at its Bromine Compounds unit and another 140 at Dead Sea Works, where the company makes its main product, potash. Israel Chemicals threatened to go ahead with the layoffs unilaterally after negotiations broke down last week. Shares finished down 1.5% at 27.38 shekels ($6.95). (Haim Bior
 
Bank, tech shares lead TASE higher
 
Bank and technology shares led the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange higher Monday, a day before the market closes for the Independence Day holiday Wednesday and Thursday. The benchmark TA-25 index ended 0.7% higher, at 1,679.46 points, while the TA-100 rose 0.67%, to 1,466.51, on turnover of 1.57 billion shekels ($400 million). Bank Leumi led bank shares higher, jumping 3.5% to end at 15.20 shekels. Leading TA-100 tech shares higher were Protalix, which added 3% to end at 8 shekels, and Ormat Technologies, which rose 2.9%, to 147.40. In the fixed-income market, the price of the government’s shekel bond due in 2024 rose 0.13%, leaving it with a yield of 1.4%. (Dror Reich)