Business in Brief: Allergan Slides Into Loss Due to Holdings of Teva Shares

Wix beats earnings forecast, raises outlook | Israel Chemicals reports better quarter, sues Ethiopia over closed potash mine | Isramco raises NIS 1.6 billion in bond issue | Tel Aviv shares fall as insurance rally hits wall

A building belonging to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world's biggest generic drugmaker and Israel's largest company, in Jerusalem, February 8, 2017.
Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

Allergan slides into loss due to holdings of Teva shares

Teva Pharmaceuticals isn’t the only side to come out the worse in its takeover last year of Allergan’s generic business: Allergan itself posted a first-quarter loss on Tuesday, the result of a nearly $2 billion write-down on the value of its stake in Teva, which has lost more than 40% of its value since last year. Allergan sold its generics business Actavis to Teva last August for $33 billion in cash and 100 million shares worth around $5.3 billion at the time. Teva has struggled since then, and the company’s CEO stepped down in February after sharp criticism for a string of costly acquisitions and delayed drug launches. Allergan said its net loss was $2.63 billion, or $7.86 a share, compared with a profit of $186.1 million, or 47 cents a share, a year earlier. Most of the loss was from the write-down of the Teva stake, as well as research and development related costs, Allergan said. (TheMarker Staff)

Wix beats earnings forecast, raises outlook

Wix.com, which helps small businesses build websites, reported a jump in first-quarter revenue on Wednesday and a smaller loss, prompting the Israeli firm to raise its sales forecast for 2017. It reported a quarterly loss of 18 cents a share excluding one-off items, compared with a loss of 30 cents a year earlier while revenue jumped 50% to $92.5 million. Wix, whose Nasdaq-listed shares have surged 66 percent so far in 2017, was forecast to lose 14 cents a share excluding items on revenue of $90.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. “In light of the first-quarter results, and in light of the great momentum we see in our business, we decided to raise the outlook,” Chief Financial Officer Lior Shemesh told Reuters. Its new 2017 revenue forecast is $421 million to $423 million, up from an earlier estimate of $417 million to $419 million, or an increase from 45% to 46%. Wix shares were up 2.2% to $75.80 late morning local time in New York. (Reuters)

Israel Chemicals reports better quarter, sues Ethiopia over closed potash mine

Israel Chemicals on Wednesday reported higher quarterly net income and sales, buoyed by the company’s specialty-chemicals division and growing potash sales. Revenue for the first quarter rose to $1.3 billion from $1.27 billion a year earlier and net income rose to $68 million from $66 million, in line with analysts’ estimates. The company reported a modest sequential recovery in potash prices and year over year volumes. ICL, the world’s sixth-largest potash producer, has sought to counter low commodities prices by diversifying into products such as advanced additives and specialty fertilizers. ICL, a subsidiary of conglomerate Israel Corporation, also said it filed an “investment treaty claim” on Wednesday against the government of Ethiopia, where the company has recently closed a potash project. ICL said the Ethiopian government had imposed an “illegal tax assessment” against it and failed to provide it with infrastructure support. Shares of Israel Chemicals ended down 1% at 15.30 shekels ($4.24). (Reuters)

Isramco raises NIS 1.6 billion in bond issue

Isramco, the energy partnership that holds a 29% stake in the Tamar natural gas field, completed the institutional tranche of a giant 1.65 billion-shekel ($460 million) bond offering late on Tuesday amid strong demand. Institutions placed orders for 2.3 billion shekels of the bonds, 800 million more than were allocated for them (with the rest being sold to the public later). The AA-rated dollar bonds will carry interest of 3.49%, 100 basis points less than Delek Drilling and Avner – its two Israeli partners in Tamar – issued debt just a few months ago. The bond issue, the first ever for Isramco and among the biggest on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange this year, is in line with a decision last month by Isramco’s board to take on more debt and free up cash to pay 300 million shekels annually in dividends between now and 2019. (Eran Azran)

Tel Aviv shares fall as insurance rally hits wall

Tel Aviv shares fell on Wednesday, as insurance stocks turned down after a nearly unbroken three-week rally. The blue chip TA-35 index lost 0.6% to finish at 1,420.11, while the TA-125 fell 0.4% to 1,292.19, as 1.53 billion shekels ($420 million) in shares changed hands. Phoenix led insurers lower, declining 2.9% to 16.30 shekels by close. SodaStream tumbled 7.5% to close at 189.50 shekels, even though its first-quarter earnings came out to 66 cents a share, way ahead of the average estimate – 38 cents – of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Service. Mazor Robotics shares rose 2.5% to 73.20, reporting an 83% jump in first-quarter revenues. Elbit Systems ended 0.8% higher at 434.80 after it said it was awarded a $40 million contract from the Brazilian Marine Corps. In foreign currency trading, the dollar slipped below 3.60 shekels in late trading but then quickly recovered. Its Bank of Israel rate was virtually unchanged at 3.6050. (Shelly Appelberg)