Business in Brief: Courts Order Hapoalim to Release All Documents Related to Fishman Loans

Investor George Soros boosts stake in Israel’s Allot to 15.7% | Frutarom pays $33 million for 80% of Brazilian flavor-maker SDFLC | Tel Aviv shares finish session higher after end-of-the-day bounce

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A woman uses an automated teller machine (ATM) outside a Bank Hapoalim branch in Tel Aviv, Israel May 30, 2013.
A woman uses an automated teller machine (ATM) outside a Bank Hapoalim branch in Tel Aviv, Israel May 30, 2013. Credit: Nir Elias, Reuters

Courts order Hapoalim to release all documents related to Fishman loans

Bank Hapoalim was ordered to reveal documents connected with the loans it gave fallen tycoon Eliezer Fishman, Judge Magen Altuvia of the Tel Aviv Economic Court ruled on Thursday. The decision, made in response to a petition filed a year ago, came a day after Fishman was declared bankrupt and the Knesset formed an investigative committee to examine of the affair of tycoons defaulting on debt. Fishman owes to Hapoalim alone some 1.8 billion shekels ($510 million), of which the bank expects to get back no more than 800 million after seizing and selling his assets. “We are talking about great financial damage to the bank, the shareholding public and the public in general. Under the circumstances, the interest of the public and the bank is full disclosure of the information,” Magen wrote. The ruling calls on Hapoalim, the biggest of Fishman’s creditors, to supply information on lending going back to the year 2006. (Jasmin Gueta)

Investor George Soros boosts stake in Israel’s Allot to 15.7%

In an apparent vote of confidence in Allot, investor George Soros raised his stake to 15.7%, buying another $160 million of shares, the Israeli company said on Sunday. The celebrity investor accumulated a 6.6% stake in the company a year ago, boosted it to 10% a few months later and last month raised it again. The company’s earnings and share prices have suffered due to a slowdown in sales for its key deep packet inspection technology, which telecoms companies use to monitor and manage Internet traffic. But his growing position signals that Soros is optimistic about Allot’s turnaround strategy, which has included replacing the chairman, CEO and chief financial officer. Meanwhile, Allot’s cash holdings of $112 million, or 70% of its market valuation, limit his downside risk. In any event, Soros has so far little to show from his Allot investment, with its shares flat year on year. On Sunday, however, they closed up 5% 18.11 shekels. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Frutarom pays $33 million for 80% of Brazilian flavor-maker SDFLC

The Israeli flavor and fine ingredients company Frutarom said on Sunday it had acquired 80% of SDFLC Brasil Indústria E Comércio Ltda for 110 million real ($33 million) to beef up its Latin American presence. Frutarom said the business of SDFLC, a major Brazilian producer of flavors for ice cream and desserts with sales of about $22 million in the 12 months ending May 2017, are largely synergetic with Frutarom’s product line. Employing 90 people, SDFLC’s sales grew an average 17% annually for the past five years and is in the process of building a new $6 million complex that will house a research and development lab and production platform enable it to double production without any extra hiring. “We are working on seeking out and executing additional acquisitions of companies and activities ... with special focus on high-growth markets and natural products,” said CEO Ori Yehudai. Shares of Frutarom ended 1.1% higher at 239 shekels ($67.51). (Reuters)

Tel Aviv shares finish session higher after end-of-the-day bounce

A last-minute bounce left the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange higher for the day despite another day of declines for Bezeq group stocks (see story on this page). The blue chip TA-35 index finished up 0.3% at 1,442.12 points, while the TA-125 gained 0.35% to 1,296.91, on thin turnover of 673 million shekels ($190 million). Biotech shares led gainers, with Compugen up 5.9% to 14 shekels and Mazor Robotics gaining 3.9% to 61.39. Kamada turned around from a 23% plunge Thursday after Europe rejected its application for approval of an inhaler product to end 3.2% higher to 21.14. Super-Sol rose 2.7% to 18.50 after it issued 140 million shekels of new shares to institutional investors, at 17.58 each, a 2.4% discount on the opening prices. Extel bonds jumped 5% to trim their yield to about 10% after the U.S. real estate company said it had lined up $900 million of financing to build two New York luxury residential towers. Isramco extended its declines in heavy trading, ending down 1.7% at 53 agorot. (Omri Zerachovitz)

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