Business in Brief: Fox Seeks to Appoint CEO's Son as Customer Club Credit Card Sales Manager

Court approves Moti Ben-Moshe’s takeover of Africa Israel ■ Hamat’s profits fall 14% over construction slowdown and drop in the Turkish lira ■ Tamar Petroleum distributing $39 million dividend at an 18% return ■ TASE shares generally higher

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A Fox Home store, Israel
A Fox Home store, IsraelCredit: Rafi Deloya

Fox seeking to appoint CEO Harel Wizel’s son Moran as customer club credit card sales manager

Amid news over the past two weeks of sexual harassment allegations against the CEO and controlling shareholder of the Fox-Wizel retail group, Harel Wizel, the company’s shareholders are being asked to approve the appointment of Wizel’s son Moran as the sales director of the company’s new customer club credit card, Dream Card VIP. Moran Wizel, who is 23, is a business management student at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. In 2016 and 2017, he worked in various capacities at his father’s company, including a stint as a store manager. The allegations against Moral Wizel’s father have fed concern that Harel Wizel could be forced to step down as CEO of the company, whose retail brands include Fox, Fox Home and Laline. The company’s share price has fallen by about 15% over the past two weeks, cutting its market valuation by 150 million shekels ($42 million). Harel Wizel is considered largely responsible for his firm’s success in recent years. Last week Fox appointed an outside investigator to examine the allegations against its CEO. (Eran Azran)

Court approves Moti Ben-Moshe’s takeover of Africa Israel

Tel Aviv District Court Judge Eitan Orenstein approved a creditors’ plan on Sunday that calls for the sale of Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments to Israeli businessman Moti Ben-Moshe, who made his fortune in the energy business in Germany. The plan provides for Africa Israel bondholders to receive 2.3 billion shekels ($639 million) of the roughly 3 billion that the company owes them. In the first phase, Ben-Moshe’s firm Extra Holding will assume full ownership of Africa Israel Investments. Plans for the takeover ran into trouble in January when Israel Tax Authority assessors assessed Africa Israel Investments with a 245 million tax bill but the issue was ironed out last week, with Africa Israel agreeing to pay the tax authority 70 million shekels in cash (50 million of which will come from the bondholders and another 20 from Ben-Moshe). (Jasmin Gueta)

Hamat’s profits fall 14% over construction slowdown and drop in the Turkish lira

The Hamat Group, the bathroom and kitchen fixture firm controlled by Yoav Golan, reported on Friday that it had 2nd quarter 2018 profits of 6.1 million ($1.7 million), 14% lower than last year for the quarter. If it had not been for Hamat’s purchase of 80% of the shares of the tiling and decorating firm Hezi Bank at a reasonable share price, Hamat’s quarterly financial picture would apparently have been even worse. Hamat’s revenues for the quarter grew 40% to 107 million shekels, but that was all attributable to the purchase of the stake in Hezi Bank. Otherwise, sales would have declined by 4%. Operating profits were just 3% higher for the quarter at 11 million shekels or 10.1% of turnover. In addition to the dent that the slowdown in the construction industry made on the company’s results, Hamat completed construction of a toilet fixture plant in Turkey in the first half of this year, financed by a euro-denominated loan. Due to the sharp drop in the value of the Turkish lira, accounting practices required the company to boost its financing expenses on its books as a result. Hamat shares closed on Sunday in Tel Aviv at 10.54 shekels ($2.93) up 4.2%. (Yoram Gabison)

Tamar Petroleum distributing $39 million dividend at an 18% return

Tamar Petroleum, which owns the Tamar natural gas production site off Israel’s coast, announced on Sunday that it is distributing a $39 million dividend, the second that the company is paying out since it was formed about a year ago. It brings the total of the dividends that investors will have received to $71 million, in keeping with the company’s policy of paying out all of its excess cash to its shareholders. The latest dividend reflects a yield on investment of about 18% a year. Tamar Petroleum’s share price jumped about 18% over the past month but it is still down from its price when it first began trading. Last week the company reported that for the first half of this year, it had revenues (after royalties) of $113 million compared to $72 million for the first half of last year. It reported operating profits for the first six months of 2018 of $83 million. Its sales of natural gas hit a new high in the first half of the year at 5 billion cubic meters. The company’s shares closed up 1.9% at 18.35 shekels ($5.10) on the Tel Aviv exchange Sunday. (Eran Azran)

TASE shares generally higher

The blue chip Tel Aviv 35 index gained 0.6% on Sunday on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, closing at 1,676.03 points. The broader Tel Aviv 125 index inched up 0.5% to 1,501.03. Trading volume was 661 million shekels ($184 million). The biggest gainer was Shapir Engineering and Industry, shares of which jumped 4.1% to 12.31 shekels. The biggest loser was Blue Square Real Estate, whose stock dropped 5.3% to 133.30 shekels. (TheMarker staff)

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