Business in Brief: Hapoalim Renewing Efforts to Sell Turkish Unit

Rami Levy loses bid to buy Co-Op Shop ■ Shares fall as dollar strengthens

FILE PHOTO: A man enters the main branch of Bank Hapoalim, Israel's biggest bank, in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Amir Cohen/Reuters

Rami Levy loses bid to buy Co-Op Shop 

Rami Levy dropped out of bidding for the failed Co-Op Shop supermarket chain Tuesday, leaving the closely held food retailer Machsanei Hashuk to buy the 42-store chain for 148 million shekels ($41 million). Rami Levy, Israel’s biggest discount supermarket chain, had offered 163 million shekels and a third contestant Zol B’Gadol 153 million for Co-Op, but Co-Op’s workers committee had reached a collective labor agreement with Machsanei Hahuk last week and told the court overseeing the sale that it preferred that offer. Rami Levy and Zol B’Gadol refused to sign an agreement with the union, saying its wage demands were excessive. Based on a 2016 decision to pay 700 shekels a month above the legal minimum wage of 5,300, average pay at Co-Op is about 25% above wages at Rami Levy. The Co-Op Israel Cooperative Society and Co-Op Shop supermarkets petitioned the Jerusalem District Court for protection from creditors in November. (Adi Dovrat-Meseritz)

Hapoalim renewing efforts to sell Turkish unit 

Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s second-largest lender, said it planned to sell its holdings in Turkey’s Bank Pozitif. “The bank is examining possibilities for the sale of its full holdings in Bank Pozitif, further to the bank’s strategic plan, in which a decision was made to gradually reduce the credit portfolio at Bank Pozitif,” a spokeswoman for Hapoalim told Reuters. Sources close to the matter said Hapoalim is meeting financial advisers and is expected to mandate one soon for the sale of the 70% stake Hapoalim holds in Bank Pozitif. “Steps were taken four years ago for the sale but no agreement was reached with the financial institution with which talks were held then,” one of the sources said.“Now they are at the mandate stage again.” Hapoalim acquires Pozitif in 2006 but was never able to make a success of it. Hapoalim shares ended up 0.5% at 24.91 shekels ($6.88). (Reuters)

Shares fall as dollar strengthens 

Tel Aviv shares ended lower Tuesday as the dollar rebounded from a week of losses. The benchmark TA-35 index shed 0.3% to end at 1,587.57 points, while the TA-125 fell 0.4% to 1,440.08, on turnover of 1.09 billion shekels ($300 million). Among big losers, Israel Discount Bank dropped .95% to 13.09 and Spacecom slid 9.3% to 9.15 after posting double-digit gains in the previous two sessions on news of an imminent satellite launch. Compugen dropped 8.15% to 12.62 after it said it would lay off a third of its employees to guarantee enough cash to continue until the first half of 2020. Sapiens led TA-125 gainers, rising 3.4% to 49.83 after reporting a 33% increase in fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share to 16 cents. The dollar and euro each appreciated more than 0.5% to representative rates of 3.6240 and 4.1181 shekels, respectively. (Guy Erez)