Business in Brief: TASE Eases Membership Requirements

Teva taps four in bid to strengthen board | Mazor Robotics shares plunge on news of securities investigation | Tel Aviv shares end little changed in sideways trading

A large digital ticker shows financial information to pedestrians outside the entrance to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016.
Rina Castelnuovo, Bloomberg

TASE eases membership requirements

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange board on Sunday approved measures that will make it easier for investment houses to become members. They include doing away with requirements that applicants have at least 200 clients, 262 million shekels ($74.1 million) of funds under management and two years experience in investment counseling and portfolio management – requirements that a study found were not required by any other major world bourse. The board also voted to eliminate a two-year trial period for new members but extended the maximum time for the board to approve a new member to one from six months. The changes come hand in hand with the privatization of the TASE that has been underway since the Knesset approved a new bourse law in March. “We are confident that bringing in new members with the most advanced technology will increase competition to attract investors and make the TASE more dynamic and accessible to the public,” said CEO Ittai Ben-Zeev. (Shelly Appelberg)

Teva taps four in bid to strengthen board 

Looking to restore investor confidence after a series of missteps, Teva Pharmaceuticals said it would ask shareholders to approve four new directors at a July 13 meeting. They are Murray Goldberg, former chief financial officer at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; Roberto Mignone, founder of Bridger Management, a healthcare-focused investment management firm; Perry Nisen, a former GlaxoSmithKline executive; and Chemi Peres, founder of Pitango Venture Partners. “These directors will join a board that has already gone through a very significant transformation since 2014 with the addition of highly qualified and talented directors, including individuals with global pharmaceutical and financial experience,” said chairman Sol Barer, who is being nominated for a second term. In related news, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Teva’s generic version of Gilead’s HIV drug Truvada, which generated $2.4 billion in sales for Gilead last year. Teva shares ended 5% up at 108 shekels ($30.56). (Reuters and Yoram Gabison)

Mazor Robotics shares plunge on news of securities investigation 

Mazor Robotics shares tumbled after the maker of surgical robots reported on Thursday that investigators for the Israel Securities Authority had searched its offices last month. It said it had delayed disclosing the search at the request of the authority in order not to undermine the investigation underway. The company declined to respond to speculation that the security authorities raid was connected with allegations of insider trading by employees ahead of the strategic agreement it reached with Medtronics last year, which turned the giant U.S. company into a shareholder and partner.  Mazor shares had soared in the 15 days before the deal was formally announced on May 18, 2016. “Mazor has not been informed as to the subject matter of the investigation, nor has it been charged with any wrongdoing. Mazor is cooperating fully with the ISA,” the company said in a statement.  Mazor shares finished 7.9% lower at 55.33 shekels ($15.66). (Yoram Gabison)

Tel Aviv shares end little changed in sideways trading

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange ended little changed in a day of mostly sideways trading that saw most indices end lower. The blue-chip TA-35, however, finished the day ahead 0.1% to 1,427.33 points, while the TA-125 ended unchanged at 1,290.99, on turnover of 588 million shekels ($166 million). Baran, an engineering company, plummeted 18.8% to 8.62 shekels after it reported it had lost a 755 million-shekel contract. Paz Oil dropped 1.5% to 586.30 after it shut down its Ashdod refinery in a labor dispute. Paz estimated the shut-down will cost it 28 million shekels a month including depreciation. Carasso Motors finished 4.3% lower at 35 after it said it would issue some 8.3 million new shares to enlarge its float and remains in the TA-90 and TA-125 indices. Carasso said it would also pay a 200 million-shekel dividend. Nawi Brothers dropped 2.8% in heavy trading to 25.08 in the second session of steep losses after the brothers said they were selling an 8.3% stake to investors. (Shelly Appelberg)