Business in Brief / Buyers Eye Indebted Israeli Tycoon Fishman's Companies

Wastewater treatment company Mapal slates London IPO; Therapix in cannabis R&D pact with Tel Aviv University.

Eliezer Fishman in 2009.
David Bachar

Buyers eye indebted Fishman’s companies

Moves are afoot to sell off key parts of tycoon Eliezer Fishman’s business empire. Viktor Vekselberg, Russia’s fourth-wealthiest oligarch and one of the new investors in Israel’s Channel 10 television, has joined the list of potential buyers for Fishman’s Jerusalem Economy. Vekselberg is reportedly interested in the property portfolios in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus controlled by two JEC subsidiaries, Mirland and Sweetland, and would divest JEC’s real estate holdings in Israel and Europe. Bank Leumi is lobbying for the sale in the hopes of getting back part of the 1.5 billion shekels ($400 million) Fishman owes the bank. Shares of JEC, 40% of which are pledged as collateral against the loans by Fishman, fell 3.7% to close at 13.92 shekels Sunday. Meanwhile, Eli Elezra, who holdings include the auto-leasing company Albar, is reportedly interested in Fishman’s 82%-owned energy retailing company Ten. Bank Hapolaim, to whom Fishman owes another 1.5 billion shekels, is pushing for the sake. (Michael Rochvarger)

Wastewater treatment company Mapal slates London IPO

The wastewater treatment company Mapal Green Energy will, on July 10, become the latest Israeli company to be traded on the London Stock Exchange.  The LSE website that reported the planned share sale didn’t provide any details about the size of the offering or the valuation, but Mapal is a small and as yet unprofitable company, and expectations are it will raise several millions of pounds. Mapal has installed 40 of its systems, which uses bubble aeration technology to purify water, around the world. Three of the sales have been in the U.K. market to water companies with a combined 26 million customers, making it one of the company’s most important markets. Mapal raised capital in two private placements, the most recent 1.5 million pounds ($2.4 million) two years ago from the private equity fund CSS Europe to a reported valuation of up to 6 million pounds. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Therapix in cannabis R&D pact with Tel Aviv University

Therapix Pharmaceuticals, which is assembling a portfolio of drug-development companies, said Sunday it had signed a memorandum of understanding to license technology for using cannabis as the basis of drugs for treating cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Under the agreement with Tel Aviv University and its Ramot licensing arm, Therapix will fund further research over the next 12 months being conducted by Prof Joseph Sarne of the university’s medical school. The two sides will have equal control over the research results, with Therapix getting rights to develop and commercialize them, and will pay royalties and milestone payments in return, the company said. Despite marijuana’s reputation as a recreational drug, studies have shown that even small doses of the active ingredients in cannabis can help people rebuild memory and cognitive function. Therapix shares ended down 5% at 80 agorot (21 cents). (Yoram Gabison)