Business in Brief / TA-25 Drops Sharply, Weighed Down by Teva

Dollar falls despite central bank intervention; Teva loses lawsuit to Proneuron.

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Credit: Reuters

TA-25 drops sharply, weighed down by Teva

Teva Pharmaceuticals led the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange sharply lower Tuesday as investors fretted over Mylan’s stout refusal to consider the Israeli drug maker’s takeover offer. A weak opening on Wall Street added to the market’s woes. The benchmark TA-25 index skidded 1.5% to end the day at 1,659.99 points, while the TA-100 lost 1.7% to 1,442.45, on turnover of 1.55 billion shekels ($400 million). Teva tumbled 4.5% in heavy trading of 225 million shekels to end at 234.80 shekels, marking its second day of big declines after Mylan rejected its offer on Friday. Perrigo, which has spurned Mylan’s takeover offer, ended down 3.9% at 725 shekels, bringing its decline over the last seven trading sessions to 10.6%. Other big blue-chip losers included TowerJazz, which fell 6.1% to 62 shekels, and Delek Group, which shed 5.3% to 1,087. (Eran Azran)

Dollar falls despite central bank intervention

The Bank of Israel intervened in foreign currency trading Tuesday after the dollar sank to as low as 3.88 shekels on Monday, following the central bank’s decision to hold its key interest rate unchanged. Sources said the central bank bought about $50 million in foreign currency on Tuesday morning, which briefly brought the dollar up to 3.91 before reversing course again. The greenback’s Bank of Israel rate was set at 3.894, a 0.9% drop for the day, while the euro lost 0.13% to 4.2543. “The Bank of Israel’s [rate] decision was pretty much expected but it appears the market was expecting to find between the lines a clearer signal about its plans for lowering the interest rate or undertaking quantitative easing,” said currency trader FXCM, adding that sentiment favored a shekel appreciation over the short term. It said recent moves lower could signal a correction to 3.85-3.87 shekels. (Eran Azran)

Nesher signs accord to sell Har-Tuv plant

Nesher, a cement-making subsidiary of closely held Clal Industries, signed an agreement late Tuesday to sell its Har-Tuv plant near Beit Shemesh after getting regulatory approvals. The Har-Tuv operation was sold to the Weil family and Shimshon Company for what market sources estimated at between 180 million and 190 million shekels ($46.4-49 million). “This is a major and unprecedented step in the Israeli cement market that will affect the structure of the market and competition,” said Moshe Kaplinsky, Nesher’s CEO. The plant was sold as part of an agreement between Nesher and antitrust authorities reached a year ago to break its monopoly in cement production, but sources said it was unlikely to have much of an effect on competition. Har-Tuv is Israel’s second-biggest cement producer, about a third the size of Nesher’s main facility in Ramle, but it sells mainly to local customers. (Ora Coren)

Teva loses lawsuit to Proneuron

A Tel Aviv court ruled Monday that Teva Pharmaceuticals violated a drug-developing license with Israeli startup Proneuron Biotechnologies, and ordered it to return technology and intellectual property. The suit said Teva had carried out a clinical trial while ignoring contractual obligations to Proneuron and pre-trial findings that indicated the trial lacked a scientific basis. The court ordered Teva to pay Proneuron 500,000 shekels ($128,287) and return 14 drugs indications for treating central neurological diseases. Teva said it would explore all legal avenues, including an appeal, over the verdict. Shares of Tamir Fishman Venture Capital, a key investor in Proneuron, surged 91% to 19 agorot Tuesdat. (Reuters)

Israel Chemicals in pact with AkzoNobel

Israel Chemicals said on Tuesday it signed agreements with Sweden’s AkzoNobel to make and market vacuum salt and white potash. Under the accord, ICL’s Spanish subsidiary, ICL Iberia, will produce 1.5 million tons annually of vacuum salt, which is used in the food and animal-feed industries, and 50,000 tons of white potash. The vacuum salt will be sold by AkzoNobel Industrial Chemicals. “Our cooperation with AkzoNobel will allow us to recover additional valuable potash through the production of this specialty salt,” said Nissim Adar, CEO of ICL Fertilizers. (TheMarker Staff)

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