Business in Brief: Bank Shares Advance in Mixed Market

Orbotech UK unit wins $57 million order; Israeli firms invited to get counselling via the London Stock Exchange.

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Credit: Reuters

Orbotech U.K. unit wins $57 million order

Orbotech said Wednesday its British-based SPTS Technologies unit had won orders reaching some $57 million from an unnamed customer. The order was for its Sigma fxP PVD systems, which is part of the line of equipment SPTS makes for semiconductor and microelectronics manufacturers. Deliveries and revenue recognition are expected to commence in the current quarter and continue throughout the first half of next year, Orbotech said, but it added that the order would not affect its fourth-quarter outlook because its guidance to investors for the period had already taken the contract into account. SPTS’s Sigma fxP PVD employs so-called fan-out wafer level packaging technology, which is being increasingly adopted by the electronics industry as it meets demand for thinner smartphones, tablets, wearable devices and Internet of Things technology. Shares of Orbotech, which bought SPTS 18 months ago for $370 million, rose 3.4% to $22.11 late morning local time in New York. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Israeli firms invited to get counselling via the London Stock Exchange

Israeli companies are being invited to join the London Stock Exchange’s Elite program, a two-year program of education, business support, mentoring and access offered in collaboration with Imperial College Business School for medium-sized, closely-held companies that are weighing going public. Israel’s participation in the program was announced at a conference in London Wednesday co-sponsored by the LSE and Israel’s Economy and Industry Ministry. The ministry’s direct general, Amit Lang, rang the opening bell for trading and LSE CEO Xavier Rolet praised Israeli high-tech capabilities. The Elite program was launched in Italy three years ago, expanded to U.K. companies in 2014 and last April to all of Europe, including Israel. Some 300 European companies have participated, but until now, only one Israeli company – the online financial services company e-Toro – has joined the program. Wednesday’s conference was also aimed at introducing British investors to the Israeli economy and its high-tech sector. (Moti Bassok)

Kite Pharma selling $250 million in shares

Kite Pharma, a biotech development company, said Wednesday it was selling $250 million shares of its common stock. The news came two days after Kite announced successful results for Phase I trials of its KTE-C19 for in patients with refractory, aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The company, based in California but founded and led by Israeli Ariel S. Belldegrun, is raising the money after its share price has marked a 53% move since August. Kite has no revenues and has run up $121 million in losses, but it is working in the field of cancer-killing immune cells known as chimeric antigen receptor T-cells, or CARTs, that is generating a lot of excitement among doctors and investors. Kite said a 30-day option to underwriters led by Jefferies LLC and Citigroup Global Markets to purchase additional shares could raise another $37.5 million. Kite shares were down 7.4% at $69.29 late morning local time in New York. (Yoram Gabison)

Bank shares advance in mixed market

Tel Aviv shares ended mixed Wednesday, with banks shares defying a generally lower market. The benchmark TA-25 index ended 0.1% higher at 1,544.41 points, while the TA-100 edged down 0.05% to 1,328.41, as 1.37 billion shekels ($350 million) in shares changed hands. Bank Hapoalim led bank shares higher, adding 2.3% to 20.30 shekels while Mizrahi Tefahot gained 1.4% to end at 46.17. Among the biggest blue-chip losers, Israel Chemicals dropped 1.4% to 17.70 and Kenon Holding tumbled 4.4% to 39.91. Energy shares were also sharply lower, paced by declines of 2% to 2.39 shekels for Avner and 1.4% to 127.3 for Delek Drilling. In the fixed-income market, the prices of the government’s 10-year shekel bonds extended losses, falling 0.33% to raise its yield to 2.21%. In foreign currency trading the euro continued to surge higher, adding close to 1% Wednesday to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.2520. (Omri Zerachovitz)