Business in Brief: Tel Aviv Stocks Drop Amid Escalating Violence

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Credit: Reuters

TASE shares slide against backdrop of security situation, market declines abroad

Shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange dropped substantially overall on Tuesday, against the backdrop of multiple terrorist attacks in Israel and share declines overseas. The benchmark Tel Aviv-25 index declined 1.13% to 1,497.20 points, while the Tel Aviv-100 index slid 0.97% to 1,311.32. Volume was 1.4 billion shekels ($362 million). El Al Israel Airlines’ stock dropped 4.5%, after losing 8.7% since the beginning of the month. In the communications sector, shares of Partner Communications, which had jumped 9.2% on Monday, inched 0.2% lower Tuesday. Shares of its cellular competitor Cellcom Israel, on the other hand, rose 0.4% after jumping 7.6% on Monday. Bezeq slumped by 2.8% Tuesday. (Omri Zerachovitz

Protalix shares jump on divestment of stake in Pfizer joint venture

Shares of Protalix BioTheraputics rose by 7.1% in trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Tuesday on news of its selling its 40% stake in a joint venture with Pfizer for $36 million. The proceeds will make funds available that Carmiel-based Protalix will be able to use to meet bond obligations. The joint venture was formed in 2009 to market Protalix’s Elelyso drug for the treatment of Gaucher’s disease in the United States, Canada and Australia. Pfizer, which will get the right to sell the drug in Israel, will also acquire a 5.6% stake in Protalix – 5.6 million shares – for $10 million. That’s a premium of 64% over the price at which dual-listed Protalix was trading on Monday on the Nasdaq exchange, but it comes at a time in which the company has lost 89% of its value over the past five years. Although the U.S. Federal Drug Administration approved sales of Elelyso in 2012, the joint venture has not met expectations. (Yoram Gabison

Protalix workers handle bioreactors at the Carmiel plant.Credit: Courtesy

Israel Chemicals forms joint venture with Chinese phosphate producer

In a move that will ensure its phosphate supplies even if its bid to open a mine in Israel at Sdeh Barir in the Negev is rejected, Israel Chemicals announced on Monday that it has completed the formation of a joint venture with the major Chinese phosphate producer Yunnan Phosphate Chemicals Group. Among the assets of the new company, in which ICL is investing $180 million, along with another $120 million shares, is a phosphate rock mine producing about 2.5 million tons of phosphates a year. ICL noted that its current phosphate business is centered on supplying the material for agriculture, food and engineered materials and is part of its business strategy to expand its phosphate business, particularly in Asia. The company says the latest move will double its global share of the phosphate market. The joint venture also includes the establishment a phosphate research and development center in China’s Yunnan province. ICL will control the joint venture and its results will be consolidated into ICL’s financial results. (TheMarker)

Gilat Satellite says it will return to profitability next year, 
as it revamps operations

Gilat Satellite Networks, which sells satellite ground communications services and equipment, says that it expects to return to profitability next year as it tries to revamp operations. The company says it will take advantage of changes in the satellite communications sector, which include growing demand for broadband Internet services in rural areas of the globe, as reflected in Facebook’s initiative to make the Web accessible to unserved populations. Gilat shares have fallen about 25% over the past 12 months and the company issued a profit warning three weeks ago that was its second in six weeks. The company is projecting revenues this year of $210 to $220 million, about 15% less than the mid-range of predictions that it issued on August 13. Gilat is controlled by FIMI, the First Israel Mezzanine Investors fund (Yoram Gabison)