Business in Brief: Israeli Lawmakers Told About Dangers of Binary Options

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Illustration: Binary options.
Illustration: Binary options.Credit: Haaretz

Israeli lawmakers told about dangers of binary options

Israel’s binary options companies came under fire at a State Control Committee hearing on Monday, with speakers accusing the firms of engaging in fraud and saying the police did little to deal with the problem. “The company made clear to me that ‘No client makes money – we’re selling dreams to people overseas,” said Adam Nujidat, who once worked at a Ramat Gan binary options firm. Marketing binary options, a financial tool in which the payoff is either some fixed monetary amount or nothing at all, is a big business in Israel. There are an estimated 200 firms offering binary options, employing as many as 15,000 people, lawmakers were told. The Israel Securities Authority is seeking to crack down on the industry, but its chairman, Shmuel Hauser, said that even though the ISA was conducting investigations, no arrests had ever been made and that it has no authority under the law to help in investigations by authorities where the trading is banned. (Shelly Appelberg)

Minrav Holdings to take subsidiary public at NIS 400 million valuation

Minrav Holdings said on Sunday it was readying an initial public offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in its Minrav Projects subsidiary. The company filed a shelf prospectus for an offering that values Minrav Projects – the unit that oversees the group’s residential real estate business – at 400 million shekels ($104 million). Market sources said the proceeds from the IPO would be used to expand Minrav Projects’ operations. Yishay Sasson, an analyst at Bank of Jerusalem Brokerage, said it would also boost the value of its public-traded parent company because a listing is likely to assign a higher valuation to Minrav Projects than its book value and make it easier to value Minrav Holdings. Separately, Minrav Holdings said it was partnering with Tzabarim Limited to develop apartments in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood under the Tama 38 framework. Minrav Holdings closed up 4.3% at 569.80 shekels. (Uri Tomer

Tnuva agrees to wage hikes in exchange for big round of layoffs

Some 5,500 employees at Tnuva, Israel’s biggest food maker, will be getting generous pay raises over three years retroactive to 2016, but at the cost of seeing hundreds of colleagues being laid off. Under a collective labor agreement signed late on Sunday, workers will get raises of 2.5% annually for 2016-18, as well as bonuses, at a combined cost to Tnuva of more than 100 million shekels ($26 million). However, the company has been losing market share in its key dairy categories to rivals and is under pressure from a private label milk launched by grocery chain Super-Sol, as well as eased quotas on dairy imports, and will be taking cost-cutting measures. Tnuva announced last March that it was taking cost-cutting steps, including eliminating about a quarter of senior managers, merging units and laying off hundreds of workers. In Sunday’s announcement, no figure for the number of workers to be laid off was mentioned, though sources said about 300 would be offered early retirement. (Adi Dovrat-Meseritz)

Tel Aviv gains as Euro shares climb 

Tel Aviv shares ended higher on Monday as eurozone stocks opened 2017 by climbing to their highest in more than 12 months after data showed manufacturers in the currency bloc ramped up activity at the fastest rate in more than five years. The blue-chip TA-25 index finished the day up more than 0.1% at 1,461.84 points, while the TA-100 added nearly 0.3% to 1,280.42, as 1.19 billion shekels ($310 million) in shares changed hands. Real estate shares Norstar and Gazit Globe ended sharply higher for a second day, with Norstar ahead 3.2% to 63.09 shekels and Gazit ahead 2.9% to 35. Sapiens added 3.5% to 57.10 shekels and Frutarom rose 2.8% to 205.50. Opko Health, which plunged on Sunday after a key clinical trial turned in disappointing results, extended its loses another 2.8% to end at 34.50. Kenon Holdings was down 3.2% at 44.47. In foreign currency trading, the euro strengthened 0.6% to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.0438 shekels. (Uri Tomer)

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