Business in Brief: Tel Aviv Stocks Close With Gains

Mega trustees cool over Ben Moshe buyout; Discount to retain control of Visa Cal; Opko: FDA halted approval for new drug.

Reuters

Mega trustees cool over Ben Moshe buyout

Businessman Moti Ben Moshe’s 200 million shekel offer to buy the ailing supermarket chain Mega has left the chain’s trustees unenthused. The businessman, who used to control the IDB group, submitted his bid nine days after the trustees canceled a tender to buy the firm, which is currently being protected by a stay of proceedings. The tender bids had been too low and too difficult to implement, they explained. Ben Moshe’s bid isn’t serious, they say – his bid to pay 200 million shekels in cash, payments and shares of Alon Blue Square, which he controls, isn’t backed by a guarantee, isn’t detailed and includes impossible conditions, the trustees argue. Ultimately, it would mean handing over Mega for nothing, they say. (Yoram Gabon and Adi Dovrat Meseritz)

Discount to retain control of Visa Cal

Israel Discount Bank will apparently continue to control the credit card company Visa Cal, at least for the next few years. This comes as the Strum committee for increasing competition in the consumer credit sector is preparing to publish its findings. Discount owns 72% of Visa Cal, while competitor First International Bank of Israel (Bank Beinleumi) owns the remaining 28%. However, as part of a compromise between the committee and the Bank of Israel, the banks will be required to sell of some 25% to 30% of the credit card company to a third investor. Israel’s two largest banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, will likely be forced to sell their credit card companies within three years. (Michael Rochvarger)

Opko: FDA halted approval for new drug

Opko Health announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had halted approval for its new drug, Rayaldee. Opko stated that its third-party manufacturer had failed to pass an FDA inspection. It added that the failings at the manufacturer were not specific to Rayaldee. The drug is intended to treat patients with chronic kidney disease and vitamin D deficiency. The company is still preparing for a commercial launch, it added. (TheMarker)

TASE closes with gains

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange finished yesterday’s trading session with gains, as the blue-chip TAv25 index closed up 0.1% at 1,463 points and the broader TA-100 index gained 0.2% to close at 1,260 points. Shares of real-estate companies gained 0.9%, while oil and gas shares gained 1%. Bank shares lost 0.3%. Total turnover was a weak 1.03 billion shekels. Notable shares included Africa Israel, which lost 8% on the news that Russian bank VTB PJSC was threatening to take over the two main assets of subsidiary Afi Development. (Ruti Levy)