Business in Brief: Israeli Gets $10.3 Million in U.S. Whistle-blower Suit

SodaStream workers threaten slowdown over stalled contract talks; Tel Aviv shares post modest gains, despite big rise for banks.

A judge's gavel.
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SodaStream workers threaten slowdown over stalled contract talks

The Histadrut labor federation threatened to call for a labor slowdown at SodaStream’s factory in the Negev, asserting that management was dragging its heels on a collective bargaining agreement. Meir Babiof, the chairman of the trade union umbrella organization’s Negev region, accused management of pressuring and threatening employees, placing what he called “absurd limits” on meetings with union officials and of taking “tough stands” on issues. In response, the manufacturer of soda machines for the home said it was surprised by the threat and suggested that it was connected with the upcoming Histadrut election rather than by real issues. “Histadrut representatives chose to disrupt the talks over fake disagreements like the length of a meeting, even though in the last few meetings they arrived 30 minutes late and interrupted them over the issue of one representative or another being present,” SodaStream said. Some 1,100 employees of SodaStream voted to organize in November and declared a formal labor dispute last week. SodaStream shares ended 0.3 percent higher at 176 shekels ($48.04). (Janan Bsoul)

Israeli gets $10.3 million payout in U.S. whistle-blower suit with CA Technologies

Israeli Dani Shemesh got a $10.2 million payout on Monday for his role as plaintiff in a whistle-blower lawsuit claiming that his former employer, CA Technologies, provided false information about pricing policies to a federal agency. The U.S. Justice Department said CA, formerly known as Computer Associates, agreed to pay a total of $45 million to settle charges without admitting any liability. In a statement, CA said the lawsuit stemmed “from a complicated contract the parties signed almost 15 years ago.” Shemsh, a former employee of CA Software Israel, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington in 2010 under the federal False Claims Act, alleging that CA did not disclose the discounting policies it uses with commercial clients when it negotiated a contract in 2002 with the U.S. General Services Administration. The news came just one business day before CA said it was recognized by the Ethisphere Institute as a “2017 World’s Most Ethical Company.” (TheMarker Staff)

Tel Aviv shares post modest gains, despite big rise for banks

Tel Aviv shares eked out small gains yesterday after a long holiday weekend as an extended rally in bank shares was offset by big losses for Israel Chemicals, Bezeq and Perrigo. The blue-chip TA-35 index ended down 0.06 percent at 1,440.11 points, while the TA-125 index lost 0.09 percent to 1,282.56 points. Turnover was 1.09 billion shekels ($300 million). Bank Leumi led the most actives on a 2.7 percent advance to 16.96 shekels while Bank Hapoalim rose 1.8 percent to 24.24 amid expectations that the United States will raise its key interest rate tomorrow. But Israel Chemicals sank 3.9 percent to 15.95, and shares of its parent company, the Israel Corporation, dropped 2.8 percent to 698.10. Uralkali, the world’s largest potash producer, said its core earnings fell 38 percent in 2016 as prices tumbled and sales volumes shrank. Bezeq dropped 2.25 percent to 6.51 and Perrigo lost 1.1 percent to 256.80. Golf jumped 12.1 percent to 6.15 after its turning in a fourth-quarter profit of 2.7 million shekels. In the fixed-income market, the government’s 10-year shekel bond rose 0.39 percent to lower its yield to 2.32 percent.(Omri Zerachovitz)