Business in Brief: Cellcom Reports Talks With Golan on Network Pact

Delta Galil eyeing 2-3 acquisitions | Musician indicted for securities fraud | Tech shares gain in mixed trading session

Tali Meyer

Cellcom reports talks with Golan on network pact

Cellcom Israel shares rallied yesterday after it said it was in talks to reach an agreement letting Golan Telecom piggyback on its network as a mobile virtual network operator. “Following the regulators’ opposition to the proposed purchase of Golan Telecom by the company, the parties are negotiating an agreement which would, if finalized and approved by the regulators, allow Golan Telecom to continue to use the company’s networks in the provision of its services,” Cellcom said in a brief statement. Just over a month ago, Israel’s Antitrust Authority ruled against Cellcom’s plan to acquire its smaller, upstart rival for 1.17 billion shekels ($310 million). Despite reservations, the government will likely consent to an MVNO pact, which would let Golan piggyback on the Cellcom network, because a full networking-sharing agreement would be too costly for Golan to undertake. Cellcom shares were up 7.4% at $7.86 early afternoon local time New York. (Amitai Ziv)

Delta Galil eyeing 2-3 acquisitions 

Delta Galil is working on as many as three acquisitions over the next year, its CEO Isaac Dabah said yesterday, as the apparel maker reported a drop in first-quarter profit. “Since we bought [Germany’s] Schiesser, we haven’t made any big acquisitions, but we are seeing prices in the retail market falling. Right now, we’re looking at two-three deals and engaging in due diligence. Two of them are likely to be done in 2016,” Dabah said. Delta said that net income attributable to shareholders fell to $7.9 million in the first quarter from $8.9 million a year earlier, while sales edged 2% higher to $256.7 million. However, excluding lower valuations on hedging transactions that resulted in a loss of $1.5 million, net income was $9 million, a year-on-year increase of 13%, the company said. Delta affirmed sales growth of 1-2% this year, while earnings per share should climb as much as 7%. Delta shares ended up 2.3% at 100.90 shekels ($26.42). (Eran Azran)

Musician indicted for securities fraud

Sharon Holzman, a musician who once played for the band Avtipus, was indicted yesterday in Tel Aviv on charges of manipulating share prices and fraud. The Tel Aviv district prosecutor’s office  alleged that in December 2012 Holzman bought 100,000 shekels ($26,200) of shares in the Israeli oil explorer Givot Olam and then wrote an article that looked as if had been published in the financial daily Globes, reporting that the Russian company Gazprom was buying Givot Olam. He distributed the story over social networks and a day later sought to sell the shares, the indictment said. He only succeeded five days later, earning himself a profit of just 2,000 shekels, it added. “The defendant faked an article on the company Givot Olam with the aim of deceiving readers and motivating them or trying to motivate them to buy Givot’s stock, knowing full well that the article was false,” the indictment read. There was no immediate comment from Holzman’s attorney. (Efrat Neuman)

Tech shares gain in mixed trading session

Tel Aviv shares ended mixed yesterday, with tech shares giving some lift to an otherwise lower market. The benchmark TA-25 index edged down 0.06% at close to 1,400.69 points, while the TA-100 moved up 0.05% to 1,211.29, on turnover of 1.14 billion shekels ($300 million). Nice Systems led tech shares higher on a 2.3% advance to close at 248.60 shekels, but volume leader Teva Pharmaceuticals took a turn lower at the end of the day to finish down 1.4% at 190.10. Bezeq ended down 1.3% at 8.06 and Elbit Systems lost 1% at 354.70. Bank shares were lower after Leader Capital Markets warned that second-quarter results would be “relatively weak” due in part to negative inflation. Bank Leumi ended down 1.7% at 13.61 and Israel Discount Bank lost 1% to 6.29. Bond trading was quiet, except for the government’s 30-year Shahar bond, which declined 0.43% to leave its interest rate at 1.04%. (Omri Zerachovitz)