Business in Brief / U.S. Export Import Bank Expected to Finance El Al's New Fleet of Planes

40% of eligible TASE firms have already sought new investor communications grant; Investors in Clal Industries to get additional NIS 37 million over company's delisting; TASE shares decline moderately, but bank shares rise.

Reuters

40% of eligible TASE firms have already sought new investor communications grant

Forty percent of the eligible companies that are traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange have already applied to participate in a new program, sponsored by the stock exchange, that will provide funding for the purpose of enhancing midsize firms’ communications with their investors. The program, which in its first two days attracted 50 of the 128 qualifying firms — those outside the TA-100 index — was launched in the hope that it would boost the companies’ trading volumes. Participants also get free access, at no charge, to TASE conference facilities for analyst investor meetings, as well as free access to the stock exchange’s database of institutional financial firms’ investments. Similar programs exist at other stock exchanges around the world, including the Nasdaq exchange.  The program follows the delisting of 225 companies from the TASE over the past seven years. (Shelly Appelberg)

Investors in Clal Industries to get additional NIS 37 million over company’s delisting

The Tel Aviv District Court approved a settlement on Thursday of a class action filed by the advocacy organization To’elet Latzibur against the management of Clal Industries over the company’s delisting in 2013 from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The settlement provides for members of the public who held shares of the company at the time of the company’s delisting to collectively receive an additional 37 million shekels ($9.7 million). The lawyers for the plaintiffs were also awarded about 4 million shekels in attorney’s fees. Clal Industries had been delisted at the request of Access Industries, a company controlled by billionaire investor Len Blavatnik, in a merger with a privately-held firm. The merger was approved by owners of more than 50% of the publicly-held shares of company stock, but the plaintiffs argued that the valuation of Clal Industries in the transaction, 1.27 billion shekels, was substantially less than its true value. (Eran Azran)

U.S. Export Import Bank expected to finance El Al’s new fleet of planes

El Al Israel Airlines is to buy and lease 15 new Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 and 787-8 wide-body passenger planes, with an option for the purchase of an additional 13 planes. The Export-Import Bank of the United States is expected to lend the carrier $750 million for a period of 12 years, at an interest rate of around 2.7%, to pay for the new passenger planes. Israel’s largest airline is expected to purchase around half of the new planes outright and lease the remainder. The total price of the deal is estimated at between $800 million and  $900 million, including spare engines. The Dreamliners will replace El Al’s aging Boeing 747-400 and 767 models. The average age of the airline’s fleet is currently 12.7 years. (Yoram Gabison)

TASE shares decline moderately, but bank shares rise

Stocks on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange generally saw moderate declines in trading Sunday. The benchmark TA-25 index dropped 0.24%, to 1,712.53 points, while the broader TA-100 index slumped by 0.21%, to 1,479.94 points. The Banks-5 index bucked the negative trend, gaining 0.12%. Total trading volume was thin, at just 621 million shekels ($163 million). The Biomed index lost 2.84% for the day, dragged down particularly by a 9.1% decline in the share of Opko Health. By contrast, Africa Israel Investments gained 7.1% against the backdrop of the financial results of Africa Israel Residences. That company continues to be the parent company’s strongest link, with second-quarter net profits of about 21 million shekels, a 35% increase over the same period in 2014. The profit bump was a byproduct of a record number of home sales amid continued pursuit of new projects. In other share trading, Knafaim Holdings, which controls El Al Israel Airlines, was up 6.2% in heavy trading. (Dror Raich)