Business in Brief: Allot Shares Rally on Reports Formula May Be Suitor

Partner profit nearly tripled on payment from Orange | El Al quarterly profit doubles as passenger count grows, fuel costs fall | Tel Aviv shares weighed down by Teva, property sector

Bloomberg

Allot shares rally on reports Formula may be suitor

Reports that Formula Systems may emerge as a suitor for Allot Communications gave another big boost Wednesday to Allot’s share price, although Formula’s interest apparently hasn’t reached the negotiations stage. With Allot’s share price down by about one-third since the start of the year, leaving it with a market cap of 685 million shekels ($180 million) and $117 million in cash on its books, the maker of fixed, mobile and enterprise network solutions for broadband traffic is a financially attractive target. This week Soros Fund Management, the personal investment vehicle of the U.S. billionaire investor George Soros, reported it had accumulated a 6.6% stake in Allot, prompting shares to jump 5% on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they closed up 4.6% at 20.40 shekels ($5.37). Two months ago, Radware also looked at acquiring Allot but backed off. Shares of Formula, a high-tech holding company, ended down 0.9% at 137.80. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Partner profit nearly tripled on payment from Orange

Partner Communications, Israel’s No. 2 cellular operator, reported a jump in second-quarter profit on Wednesday, boosted by a payment from French firm Orange. Partner said profit  was up almost threefold, to 26 million shekels ($7 million), for the quarter, from 9 million shekels a year earlier. The quarter included income of 54 million shekels from a settlement with Orange, after Partner cut its two-decade-old licensing agreement with the French company earlier this year and ceased using the Orange name. Partner received a 90-million-euro ($101 million) payment, which is to be recognized on a quarterly basis until the second quarter of 2017. Partner, meanwhile, reported a 14% fall in revenue to 897 million shekels, below the 941 million shekels expected by analysts in a Reuters poll. Its subscriber base fell 2% to about 2.7 million. “Competition in the cellular market continued to erode service revenues, however, to a lesser extent than in previous quarters,” Chief Financial Officer Ziv Leitman said. Partner shares closed down 1.6% to 18.43 shekels. (Reuters)

El Al quarterly profit doubles as passenger count grows, fuel costs fall

El Al Airlines said Wednesday that net profit more than doubled in the second quarter as its passenger count rose and fuel costs fell. Israel’s flag carrier said net profit reached $35 million in the quarter from $17 million a year earlier as revenue increased 5% to $537 million, partly due to the timing of the Passover holiday that is usually a peak time for vacation traffic. The holiday fell in the second quarter this year versus the first quarter in 2015. The carrier said jet fuel expenses slid 21%, or $26 million, over the same period last year to $83.3 million. El Al said its load factor edged higher to 82.3% and its market share at Ben-Gurion International Airport increased to 34.2%. The airline declared a dividend of $18.3 million for the first half of 2016. It distributed $40 million for 2015. El Al shares jumped 5.2% to 3.16 shekels (83 cents). (Reuters)

Tel Aviv shares weighed down by Teva, property sector 

Tel Aviv shares ended lower on Wednesday, weighed down by property stocks and Teva Pharmaceuticals. The blue chip TA-25 index finished 0.2% lower at 1,465.03 points, while the TA-100 lost 0.3% to 1,283.69, on thin turnover of 729 million shekels, ($192 million). Teva led most actives on a 1.4% drop to 202.50 shekels while property stocks were dragged lower by Housing & Development Limited. The company’s shares ended down 2% at 6.63 after credit rating agency Maalot lowered its bonds to A-minus from A-plus with a Negative outlook. Azrieli Group finished 1.4% down at 170.40 and Gazit Globe down 1.9% at 38.25. Fox shares gained 1% to 61 shekels after the apparel retailer reported second-quarter net profit rose 155% to 40.5 million shekels. Migdal Insurance squeezed out an 0.25% rise to 2.36 by closing despite its reporting that quarterly net profit dropped 94% to just 19.8 million shekels. (Shelly Appelberg)