Business in Brief: Amdocs Buying Out Israeli Partner Pontis

Central bank leaves interest rate untouched | TASE closes in the red again

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Amdocs buying out Israeli partner Pontis

Technology giant Amdocs is buying out fellow Israeli company Pontis for $80 to $100 million, sources told TheMarker. The companies are in the advanced stages of a buyout agreement. The two firms have been business partners for years, and Amdocs invested in Pontis in the past. There were reports of buyout talks a year and a half ago, but they reportedly broke down due to disagreements over the price. Pontis, founded in 2003, develops software for targeted marketing via cell phone and television in real time. It has 200 employees, half of them at its Ra’anana headquarters and half abroad. The sale is not a good deal for investors, who invested more than $70 million in the company over the years. Amdocs develops billing software for communications companies and has some 25,000 employees around the world, including 4,700 in Israel. It is trading at a valuation of $9 billion on NASDAQ. (Ruti Levy)

Central bank leaves interest rate untouched

The Bank of Israel left its benchmark interest rate at 0.1% for the 18th straight month on Monday, following a spate of stronger-than-expected economic news this month. All 11 economists polled by Reuters had forecast no change by the central bank, with most also projecting no rate move until at least late 2017. Buoyed by robust consumer spending, Israel’s economy grew an annualized 3.7 percent in the second quarter of 2016, according to the government’s preliminary estimate that was above a Reuters consensus of 2.6 percent growth. The annual inflation rate improved to -0.6 percent in July — a five-month high — from 0.8 percent in June, although the rate remained well below the government’s annual target range of 1 to 3 percent. Israel has been in a deflation trend for 23 months. (Reuters)

TASE closes in the red again

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange finished Monday’s trading session with minor losses, as the blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index closed down 0.1% at 1,446 points and the broader Tel Aviv-100 Index lost 0.3% to close at 1,272 points. The TASE has been trading in the red all week, and stock exchanges in Europe also closed with losses on Monday. Trading on Wall Street, on the other hand, started off with gains. The Real Estate-15 lost 1.4%, while oil and gas shares lost 0.9%. Total turnover was 855 million shekels. Notable shares included Shapir Engineering, which gained 3.9% after publishing positive financial reports. Mannkind lost 7.7%, putting it down 22% for the last four days of trading. Icecure Medical lost 21%. (Shelly Appelberg)