Business in Brief / Shares Finish Sharply Down on Energy Worries, World Markets

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The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).Credit: Bloomberg

Shares finish sharply down on energy worries, world markets

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange ended sharply lower Monday, weighed down by energy stocks and renewed declines on world stock markets. The benchmark TA-25 index finished 1.7% lower at 1,578.48 points, a drop of 7.8% for August after it took a pounding last week. The TA-100 ended 1.5% down at 1,386.63. Turnover was heavy, at close to 2 billion shekels ($510 million). Apart from plunging energy shares, which left most oil and gas stocks with double-digit losses, world stock indexes fell and oil prices dropped amid persistent investor concerns about slowing growth in China and the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates. Telecoms shares, however, ended mostly higher, with B Communications up 2.9% at 71.79 and Cellcom Israel ahead 1.23% at 25.50, but Partner Communications ended virtually unchanged at 7.05 and 25.50 shekels, respectively. Ashtrom Group ended down 2% at 8.76 even though it reported Monday that it boosted first-half earnings by nearly fourfold. (Dror Raich)

Bezeq second-quarter profit declines

Bezeq, Israel’s biggest telecoms operator, posted a decline in second-quarter profit on Monday, as a sharp decline in income at its mobile unit was offset by rising profit at its landline and Internet businesses. The company earned 482 million shekels ($123 million), down from 810 million a year earlier, when Bezeq had a one-time gain of 582 million shekels from the sale of its Yad2 classifieds website. Bezeq’s revenue rose 15.7% to 2.6 billion shekels after consolidating for the first time the results of its satellite-television subsidiary Yes and higher revenue at its landline division. Bezeq had been forecast to earn 400 million shekels on revenue of 2.58 billion, according to a Reuters poll of analysts. Bezeq sought to book an 831-million-shekel tax benefit but couldn’t because the Israel Securities Authority refused to countenance it before the deadline for reporting quarterly results. Meantime, it said it would pay a dividend of 933 million shekels, or 0.34 shekel a share, for the first half of 2015. Bezeq shares ended up 0.01% at 7.05 shekels. (Amir Teig)

Delek Group posts second-quarter profit 

Delek Group, Yitzhak Tshuva’s holding company, said Monday it moved to a profit in the second quarter due to higher income from its energy and production operations and increased sales of natural gas from its Tamar field. Quarterly net profit reached 22 million shekels ($5.62 million), turning around from a net loss of 600 million shekels a year earlier when it booked significant write-downs on holdings it planned to sell as the group divests its nonenergy subsidiaries. Group revenue fell to 1.7 billion shekels from 1.9 billion due to lower distillate prices at its Delek Israel unit. CEO Asaf Bartfeld said the company was looking to make a strategic investment in the near future that will boost its operations. “Should such a deal indeed occu ... it will increasingly solidify our position as a major player in the international energy sector,” he said. Delek shares closed down 11.9% at 925 shekels. (Reuters)

Perrigo unlikely to trade on TASE in partial Mylan takeover

U.S. drug maker Mylan has signaled that if it acquires a controlling stake in Perrigo short of a full takeover, Perrigo will no longer trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, as Mylan’s chief financial officer had promised. The prospectus Mylan published on Friday detailing its offer to buy Perrigo said that in the event that more than 50% of Perrigo shareholders approve the Mylan offer but fewer than the 80% it needs to complete a full takeover, Mylan will probably delist Perrigo shares from New York and Tel Aviv trading. Mylan cited New York Stock Exchange regulations that require a minimum number of shareholders to continue trading. As a dual-listed share, it would also mean Perrigo would delist from the TASE. Losing Perrigo, the fourth largest company by market capitalization on the TASE, would be a major blow for the local market. On Friday, Mylan shareholders approved acquiring Perrigo, which is resisting the $205-a-share offer. Perrigo shares ended down 1% at 716 shekels ($182). (Yoram Gabison)

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