Business in Brief: Teva Reaches Settlement With the U.S. Over Foreign Bribery Accusations

Drilling, Avner seek to boost bond issue | Strauss buys German coffee company | Weak Tel Aviv market kept aloft by Teva, Israel Corp., Israel Chemcials

This file photo taken on June 10, 2013 shows  the outside of the factory of Israel's Pharmaceutical Industries Teva in Jerusalem.
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP

Teva reaches settlement with the U.S. over foreign bribery accusations

Teva Pharmaceuticals said it had reached a settlement with the United States Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission over accusations it had paid bribes to win orders in Russia, Mexico and Ukraine between 2007 and 2013. The agreement calls for Teva to make payments of $519 million, for which the company had already set aside money, and install a temporary independent compliance monitor, the company said. The U.S. agreed not to prosecute anyone involved in Teva’s violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The drug maker added that none of the employees involved in the improper payments were still employed by Teva, including in Russia where the entire leadership team was replaced in 2013. “While the conduct that resulted in this investigation ended several years ago, it is both regrettable and unacceptable, and we are pleased to finally put this matter behind us,” said Teva CEO Erez Vigodman. Teva shares ended 2.3% higher at 141.90 shekels ($37.14). (TheMarker Staff)

Drilling, Avner seek to boost bond issue 

Delek Drilling and Avner, the two energy units of Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Group, said they would seek clearance from the rating agency Midroog to boost the size of the bond sale now underway to 2 billion shekels ($520 million) after they were deluged with orders. Demand in the institutional tranche for the 1.5-billion-shekel, dollar-linked issue on Wednesday reached 3.2 billion. The bonds, which will likely pay interest of 4.5% and come due in five years, are linked to the dollar because the capital will be used to develop the Leviathan natural gas field, whose revenues will be largely in dollars. The decision to increase the issue comes as the shareholders of the two companies are due to vote on merging them. Delek Drilling shares fell 0.4% to 14.34 shekels and Avner ended down 0.1% at 2.70 shekels. (Eran Azran)

Strauss buys German coffee company 

Strauss Group said on Thursday it had paid 50 million euros ($52.3 million) for the purchase of the German company whose plant it had leased and operated since 2012 make to coffee for the Russian and other markets. The company said its Strauss Coffee unit paid 32.1 million euros in cash and cancelled a 17.9 million loan to buy Norddeutsche Kaffeewerke, based near Hamburg, actualizing an option it took when it signed the leasing agreement four years ago. “The manufacturing site we are acquiring is the high-tech of the coffee world and includes cutting-edge micro-grinding technology, which enables us to manufacture a super-premium instant coffee product,” said Strauss Coffee CEO Tomer Harpaz. “The acquisition places Strauss in the very small, exclusive group of manufacturers possessing manufacturing sites and technologies of this kind.” The acquisition comes a week after Strauss’ partner in the coffee venture, the U.S. private equity fund TPG Capital Management, said it was looking to sell its 25.1% stake for $293 million, nine years after acquiring it. Shares of Strauss edged up 0.1% to 54.95 shekels ($14.38). (Yoram Gabison)

Weak Tel Aviv market kept aloft by Teva, Israel Corp., Israel Chemcials

Tel Aviv shares squeezed out gains in dull trading, as advances for Teva Pharmaceuticals, Israel Chemicals and The Israel Corporation offset a generally weaker market. The blue chip TA-25 ended the day up 0.2% at 1,463.47 points, while the TA-100 edged 0.1% higher to 1,277.43, on turnover of 1.05 billion shekels ($270 million). Israel Corporation ended 3.2% higher at 618.10 shekels and Israel Chemicals added 3.1% to 15.39. Tech and biomed shares led the day’s losers, with Compugen down 4.1% to 20.14 and LivePerson sliding 3% to 29.37. Spacecom, which rallied a day earlier on news it had found a replacement for the ill-fated Amos 6 satellite, retreated 3.3% on Thursday to 24.99. Mazor advanced 1,5% after it reported a three-system order for its robotic-surgery devices from an unnamed first-time customer. In foreign currency trading, the euro remained below 4 shekels after dropping through the barrier for the first time since 2002 on Wednesday. The euro ‘s Bank of Israel rate was set at 3.9894. (Uri Tomer)