Business in Brief: Justice Minister Opposes Raising Pay Cap

UroGen Pharma raises $58m in U.S. IPO | Nice beats forecasts for first-quarter profit | Tel Aviv shares end higher in heavy trading

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Jan. 16, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

Justice minister opposes raising pay cap 

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said on Thursday she would block any attempt to expand the pay cap imposed on financial-service executives to other publicly traded companies. “The executive pay law is further evidence of the damage we doing with our own hand to the economy,” she sold the annual conference of the Aaron Institute for Economic Policy. “Expanding the executive pay law to all public companies will not be approved as long as I’m chairwomen of the ministerial legislative committee.” Approved last year, the controversial law puts a ceiling on executive compensation at banks and other financial-service companies of 2.5 million shekels ($690,000) annually. Shaked said the cap was making it difficult for banks to find and retain the best managerial talent. Lawmakers had talked about expanding the cap after it was approved, but Shaked said the solution was to introduce more competition into the banking industry to bring down fees and force the banks to cut costs. (Zvi Zrahiya and Hagai Amit)

UroGen Pharma raises $58m in U.S. IPO

UroGen Pharma, which develops gel-based chemotherapy treatments for urological cancers, raised $58 million in an initial public offering of 4.5 million shares at $13 amid huge demand. The company, which is controlled by pharma entrepreneur Mori Arkin, originally planned to offer 3.5 million shares but raised 29% more in proceeds. Jefferies and Cowen & Company acted as lead managers. UroGenis developing formulations based upon the chemotherapy drug Mitomycin C that can remove tumors without surgery in several forms of invasive urothelial cancer, low-grade bladder cancer and low-grade upper tract urothelial carcinoma. Because product candidates are based on new formulations of drugs that already have won regulatory approval, the company has said it hopes to get fast-track approvals. It also signed a key agreement with Allergan last year under which it received $17.5 million and is eligible for future milestone payments. Shares of UroGenis was trading 4.2% up at $13.55 late morning local time on Thursday. (Yoram Gabison)

Nice beats forecasts for first-quarter profit

Nice System reported on Thursday a better-than-expected rise in quarterly profit, boosted by higher revenue for its cloud, analytics and artificial intelligence businesses. Nice earned 89 cents per diluted share, excluding one-time items, up from 81 cents a year earlier. Analysts had forecast Nice would earn 84 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue grew 36% $308 million, in line with estimates. “We experienced particular strength for our analytics solutions, where we have seen a high volume of very large deals,” said CEO Barak Eilam. Nice is banking on analytical tools that allow companies to delve into large amounts of data to spot fraud and fend off security threats to fuel growth. The company forecast second-quarter revenue of $309 million to $319 million and  adjusted EPS of 84 to 90 cents. Shares of Nice ended up 4.8% to 257 shekels ($71.09). (Reuters).

Tel Aviv shares end higher in heavy trading

Tel Aviv shares ended higher in unusually heavy trading Thursday. The blue-chip TA-35 index closed up nearly 0.5% at 1,409.95 points, while the TA-125 added 0.3% to 1,276.65. Turnover was 2.14 billion shekels ($590 million), nearly double the recent average, with Bank Hapoalim and Mylan trading especially active. Hapoalim rose 0.9% to 23.09 shekels on turnover of 217 million shekels; Mylan surged ahead 2.6% to 136.60 on turnover of 148 million. Energy shares were lower, led by declines of 2.3% to 28.94 for Naphtha and 1.05% to 13.18 for Delek Drilling. Delek Group fell 1.1% to 816.60 after it said it boosted its stake in Ithaca Energy to 94.2% after a tender offer from the 76%.Other big gainers included Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, which rose 2.25% to 59.61, and Perrigo, which added 1.5% to 263.20. On the losing side, Mannkind fell sharply for a second day, tumbling 9.9% to 2.63 shekels. (Uri Tomer)