Business in Brief

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Credit: Reuters

Cellcom looks to TV to revive profits

Israel’s largest cellphone carrier, Cellcom, expects its entry into home Internet and television services to boost profitability, it said on Thursday after posting a 77% slide in first-quarter profit due to cutthroat competition in the mobile sector. Cellcom, the first of Israel’s telecoms groups to report results, earned 26 million shekels ($6.8 million) in the period, down from 114 million shekels a year earlier. The figure included a 30-million-shekel charge for a voluntary retirement program it said would probably entail further costs in the second quarter. Revenue dipped 6% to 1.06 billion shekels, largely because of a drop in service revenue that was partly offset by equipment sales. Cellcom launched a TV service at the start of the year. Cellcom shares ended down 3.1% at 15.58 shekels . (Reuters)

Camtek trading suspended ahead of offering

Shares of Camtek plunged 13% to $2.94 in New York late morning local time after the maker of technology for the electronics industry priced a public offering of shares at $2.85. Before that, the rout was even worse on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The stock tumbled over 30% before the company requested a trading halt until the pricing for the offering was completed, which came after the close of trading for the day. Camtek shares had tumbled by about a third since their latest peak in January 2014 before Thursday’s sell-off, which left it with a market capitalization of 392 million shekels. The company said it expects to raise $11 million, with Needham & Company as sole manager of the offering. (Dror Reich)

Renuar weighs initial public offering

Clothing chain Renuar may soon be joining Fox, Golf and Castro on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. No prospectus has been filed yet, but TheMarker has learned that company executives have been meeting with investment bankers about terms for an initial public offering in the tens of millions of shekels. Dun & Bradstreet reports that Renuar generated 410 million shekels ($107.3 million) in revenues last year, and Renuar executives told investment bankers that earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, exceeded 30 million shekels. Net profit is estimated at 20 million shekels to 30 million shekels. If the company were to go public at 14 to 15 times earnings, it could be worth 400 million shekels. The company declined to comment on the report. (Asa Sasson and Michael Rochvarger)

Frutarom buys control of Indian company

Frutarom’s shopping spree continues: The Israeli of flavors and fragrances maker said on Thursday it paid $17.2 million in cash for a 60% stake in India’s Sonarome Private. Frutarom also took an option to acquire the remaining shares starting two years from now at a price conditional on the company’s performance. Founded in 1981, Sonarome had sales of $12 million in 2014. In addition to its activities in India, Sonarome operates in around 20 African markets. “Frutarom has set itself the goal of expanding its activity in the emerging high-growth markets of India and Africa,” said Frutarom CEO Ori Yehuda. “The acquisition of Sonarome ... is another key step towards attaining this goal.” Frutarom shares ended down 2.2% at 148.20 shekels ($38.73). (Yoram Gabison)

TA-25 ends strong week with a squeak

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s TA-25 index drifted sideways most of the day, ending slightly lower for the session in a dull ending to a strong week. The benchmark index edged down 0.03% for the day to 1,658.69 points, but was up 1.6% for the week and is now 13.2% for the year to date. The TA-100 fell 0.2% to 1,435.98, a 1.1% rise of the week. Turnover was 1.27 billion shekels ($330 million). Following Cellcom’s lead, telecomms shares were down sharply, with Partner Communications losing 4.5% to 8.97 shekels and Bezeq down 1.4% at 6.45. Other big losers were IDB Development Corporation, which fell 4.3% and Bank Leumi, down 1.3% to 15 shekels. In currency trading, the dollar dropped 0.9% to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.8190 shekels. (Dror Reich)