Business in Brief: Halman-Aldubi to Go Public via Reverse Merger

Two Wertheim heirs to get up to 10 billion shekels in assets | Israel Chemicals pulls back from bidding for Chilean company | Bank shares pace gains on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) building in Tel Aviv.
Bloomberg

Halman-Aldubi to go public via reverse merger

Investment house Halman-Aldubi said Monday it is preparing a reverse merger to become a public company on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The firm will merge with a small firm called Soho Real Estate and be traded under the name Halman Aldubi Investment House, said CEO Rami Dror. “Becoming a public company will allow us to strengthen our capital position and carry out our long-term growth strategy, which is based on mergers and acquisitions,” he said. The transaction is expected take place before the end of the year, once all regulatory approvals have been granted, Dror told Reuters. Last Thursday, Halman-Aldubi won a tender to manage a 30-billion-shekel ($8 billion) pension fund for Israel Electric Corporation, making it the sixth-largest investment house in Israel. The new company will have a valuation of more than 200 million shekels, according to a market source. (Reuters)

Two Wertheim heirs to get up to 10 billion shekels in assets

The two children of Moshe “Muzi” Wertheim, who passed away last week, are expected to enjoy assets worth between 8 billion and 10 billion shekels ($2.1 billion-$2.7 billion), with son Dudi getting 63% of the total. Their father passed on to them Central Bottling Company — the Israeli Coca-Cola bottler and source of the family fortune — three years ago, which is valued at up to 6 billion shekels. Plans to also transfer his 22% stake in Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, worth about 2.3 billion shekels, has been held up by regulatory hurdles raised by the Bank of Israel. The central bank, however, is now expected to award them a banking license. They will also be getting a 21% stake in the property company Alony Hetz, worth about 1.1 billion shekels, and 51% of the Channel Two television franchisee Keshet. Keshet has lost money in recent years and its value is now no more than 300 million shekels, and perhaps as little as 100 million. (Michael Rochvarger)

Israel Chemicals pulls back from bidding for Chilean company

Israel Chemicals pulled back from a plan to bid for an indirect stake in Chilean potash and lithium producer SQM, a spokesman for the Israeli company said on Monday. ICL CEO Stefan Borgas said in May that the company was interested in investing in SQM, which is 30%-owned by Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, but noted SQM was too big for ICL to buy outright. “We will not be in involved in this process,” ICL’s spokesman said. A share-based merger of ICL and SQM, or ICL buying a stake in SQM, could be attractive, but would need to involve Potash Corp., Borgas said in May. Julio Ponce Lerou, who is SQM’s controlling shareholder through holding firm Oro Blanco, is looking to sell its majority stake in Pampa Calichera, which in turn owns around 23% of SQM. Bids were due Monday. Shares of ICL fell 0.6% to close at 15.85 shekels ($4.21). (Reuters)

Bank shares pace gains on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Bank shares led the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange sharply higher on Monday, after four days of declines. The blue chip TA-25 index ended up 0.7% at 1,453.58 points, while the TA-100 added 0.6% to 1,273.17, on turnover of 1.19 billion shekels ($315.8 million). Hapoalim led bank shares higher, climbing 2.5% to 20.93 shekels and was volume leader for the day. Bank Leumi rose 2% to 14.51, and Mizrahi Tefahot added 1.9% to 46.55. Although real estate shares as a group were not much higher for the day, three property companies were at the top of the TA-100 index gainers list: Industrial Buildings rose 4.4% to 4.62; its parent company Jerusalem Economy Corporation gained 4.2% to 8.68; and Property & Building Limited advanced 2.4% to 319.90. Spacecom rose 2.1% to 26.85 shekels after seeing its shares plummet the two previous trading sessions on the loss of its Amos-6 satellite. Africa Property, which owns the parking garage that collapsed on Monday, killing two, ended down 1.2% to 64.98. (Uri Tomer)