Business in Brief: Indictment Filed Against McCann Tel Aviv Executive and Her Brother

As Mega collapses, Super-Sol’s Q1 profits jump by 308% to NIS 53 million | Mobileye said to clinch agreements to equip self-driving cars for two automakers | Mylan and Novartis eyeing Teva’s UK, Irish and Icelandic drug portfolios.

An empty court room in Tel Aviv.
Ilan Assayag

Insider trading indictment filed against McCann Tel Aviv executive and her brother

An indictment was filed in Tel Aviv District Court yesterday against Hana Rado, a deputy CEO at the advertising firm McCann Tel Aviv and against her brother, Aryeh Czaczkes Axselbrad, a pilot with El Al Airlines, in connection with alleged insider trading in shares of the pharmaceutical firm Compugen. The indictment alleges that Dikla Czaczkes Axselbrad, the pilot’s wife, who at the time was CFO and investor relations director at Compugen, was privy to insider information about a pending business transaction between her company and Bayer, the German drug giant. Just prior to the public disclosure of the transaction with Bayer in 2013, the pilot allegedly alerted his sister, against his wife’s wishes, that he had insider information about Compugen that he could not act on but suggested that his sister buy company shares. She allegedly did so hours before the August 5 announcement of the agreement with Bayer. Compugen shares closed 40% higher that day. She allegedly sold the shares two days later. (Efrat Neuman)

As Mega collapses, Super-Sol’s Q1 profits jump by 308% to NIS 53 million

Super-Sol, the country’s largest supermarket chain, announced that its 1st quarter profits had jumped 308% to 53 million shekels ($14 million) over the first quarter of last year. The huge boost in earnings came despite the late timing of the Passover shopping season, which, all things being equal, should have depressed comparative earnings this year. Super-Sol faced less competition this year than last in the quarter due to waning competition from Mega, historically the country’s second-largest food retailer, which collapsed and whose fate is in the hands of the court. Revenues at Super-Sol for 1st quarter 2016 grew by just 0.9% to 2.8 billion shekels. Same-store sales for the 1st quarter, which compares figures for stores that have been open for at least a year, rose by 3.6%, but if the timing of Passover were eliminated, the same-store sales increase would have been 7.8%. (Yoram Gabison)

Mobileye said to clinch agreements to equip self-driving cars for two automakers

Mobileye, the Jerusalem-based accident-avoidance technology company, has secured agreement with two automakers to provide systems for fully autonomous self-driving cars in 2019, the Wall Street Journal has reported. The business daily noted that there are competitors in the field, including Google’s parent, Alphabet, that are rushing to develop similar technology, but “Mobileye is considered a leader given its current share in the market for components needed for self-driving features,“ the Journal said. Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua told the newspaper that the deals are “fully committed.” He declined to disclose which auto manufacturers were involved in the fully-automated project but said Volkswagen, BMW and General Motors were among five manufacturers on board with the company for the purchase of highway-only automated driving technology for their 2018 models. (Haaretz)

Mylan and Novartis eyeing Teva’s UK, Irish and Icelandic drug portfolios

Pharmaceutical firms Mylan and Novartis are among the bidders for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ drug portfolio in Britain, Ireland and Iceland, the Bloomberg news service reported, citing unnamed sourSces. Private equity firms including Apollo Global Management and Cinven are also considering a bid that could go as high as $2 billion, the sources said, adding that the European Commission would prefer that the portfolios go to a purchaser with experience in the European generic drug market. The Israeli drug marker is divesting of the assets to position itself to get regulatory approval of the acquisition of Allergan’s generics business. It won conditional EU approval after agreeing to sell “the great majority” of its U.K. and Irish business, Bloomberg noted. (Haaretz)

Teva resolves labor dispute at Kfar Sava facility

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the Histadrut labor federation and the workers committee at the Teva plant in Kfar Sava have resolved a labor dispute declared at the site two weeks ago. The understanding includes a commitment to schedule shifts in accordance with the needs of the workers as well as the company, and that the number of outsourced contract workers at the site, who are not on the company’s payroll, be reexamined. The labor dispute was declared over both issues. (Janan Bsoul)

TASE shares, including U.S. biomed company shares, close lower

Shares in Tel Aviv yesterday closed generally lower. The Tel Aviv-25 index slumped by 1.4% to 1,401.56 points, while the broader Tel Aviv-100 also lost 1.4%, ending the day at 1,210.68. Trading volume was 606 million shekels ($161 million). Declines were led by dual-listed stocks, particularly shares of American pharmaceutical firms traded in Tel Aviv. Navidea Biopharmaceutical shares lost 19.5% of their value, closing at 0.32 shekels while Mannkind closed at 3.47 shekels, off 10.6% on the day. Navidea’s decline came on an announcement that its CEO was leaving and that he was asking for arbitration on the terms of his departure.  Mannkind’s share slump followed two announcements, including financial results, released last Tuesday that disappointed investors. On the plus side, shares in SodaStream International rose 9.3% to 69.44 shekels. (Omri Zerachovitz)