Business in Brief: Aeronautics Hanging Tough Despite Losses

Arison trying to sell salt monopoly ■ TASE bucks Wall Street negativity

File photo: Employees clean an Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd. Aerostar Tactical drone.
Bloomberg

Aeronautics hanging tough despite losses

Aeronautics’ board of directors is refusing to discuss any buyout offers, even though the company’s share has plummeted by 55% - or half a billion shekels - since its initial public offering a year and a half ago. The drone manufacturer previously rejected a buyout offer from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and businessman Avihai Stolero, and has also been overshadowed by an investigation into its top executives over alleged violations of weapons export regulations. The details of the investigations, which relate to a significant foreign customer, are under gag order. Aeronautics’ IPO, carried out at a valuation of 1 billion shekels, was called the “offering of the year” at the time. Aeronautics’ share price rose 1.7% in Tel Aviv on Thursday. (Guy Erez)

Arison trying to sell salt monopoly 

Shari Arison is looking to sell off Salt of the Earth, Israel’s salt monopoly, which sells some 80% of all salt consumed in Israel. Arison Investments has started receiving purchase offers for the company and is apparently seeking to get 200 million to 300 million shekels. Arison, Israel’s richest woman, has been slowly stepping away from her business dealings in Israel, first selling Shikun & Binui and recently announcing her intent to sell her controlling stake in Bank Hapoalim. Arison Investments has received several noncommittal purchase offers, some of them from foreign companies, for the salt manufacturer, which is profitable, has no debt and is considered stable. Its salt is sold to industrial, wholesale and agricultural customers. Arison Investments took Salt of the Earth private when it bought the company in 2007. Most of its salt is now produced in Eilat via evaporation pools on the Red Sea. (Guy Erez)

TASE bucks Wall Street negativity 

Despite the losses on Wall Street, Tel Aviv closed the trading day Thursday with mild gains, as the blue-chip Tel Aviv-35 Index gained 0.7% to close at 1,621 points. Notable shares included Teva Pharmaceuticals, which rebounded 3.3% after losing 4.3% on Wednesday. Bank Discount jumped 2.4% on the TASE’s highest turnover for the day, pulling up other bank shares as well. The banks index closed up 1.2% for the day. Cannabis shares recorded their second day in a row of sharp losses. Intercure dropped 9.3%, and Merhavia Holdings lost 8.8%, two days after its announcement that it would be entering the medical marijuana field sent it shooting up 44%. (Guy Erez and Shelly Appelberg)