Business in Brief: Rami Levy Eyes Robots to Boost Online Sales

Delek profit hurt by North Sea unit’s loss ■ Tadir-Gan in trouble as German unit seeks protection from creditors ■ Tel Aviv shares resume their two-week rally

Rami Levy
Ofer Vaknin

Rami Levy eyes robots to boost online sales

Discount supermarket chain Rami Levy plans to mount a challenge against market leader Super-Sol by employing advanced technology. Rami Levy said on Thursday it had reached an agreement with CommonSense, the Israeli maker of robotics for the grocery industry, to buy 12 systems to operate micro-order fulfillment centers. The first two will be in operation by the end of 2019 and the rest by July 2021, the supermarket chain said, adding that the aim was to double its online sales, now believed to account for more than 4.5% of the total. The fulfillment centers operate in urban areas in underutilized spaces as small as 10,000 square feet to ensure faster delivery. Meanwhile, Rami Levy said its net profit edged up 0.5% to 34 million shekels ($9.4 million) in the second quarter as revenues rose 2.1% to 1.3 billion. Same-store sales, however, dropped 0.15%. Rami Levy shares ended 0.5% higher at 183.90 shekels (Yoram Gabison and Amitai Ziv)


Delek profit hurt by North Sea unit’s loss

Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Group energy conglomerate reported lower quarterly profit on Thursday, hurt by a loss from exploration and production business in the North Sea at its Ithaca Energy unit. Delek said it earned 170 million shekels ($47 million) in the second quarter, compared with 180 million a year earlier when a gain from the purchase of Ithaca boosted profits. Ithaca, wholly owned by Delek, contributed a 32 million shekel loss to Delek’s bottom line versus a 47 million shekel profit a year earlier. The decline was caused by a nearly one-month operational standstill to connect a floating production facility in June. Group revenue at Delek rose to 2.1 billion shekels from 1.6 billion, boosted by higher sales at its Delek Israel unit but partly offset by the sale of 9.25% of its holdings in the Tamar natural gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast. Delek shares finished up 1.2% at 556.40 shekels. (Reuters)

Tadir-Gan in trouble as German unit seeks protection from creditors

Auto parts maker Tadir-Gan may go down as one of the few failed investments of the FIMI private equity fund. Tadir-Gan said on Thursday that its Germany ADB unit was seeking protection from creditors amid plunging orders and delayed payments from Volkswagen, its key customer. The German auto maker has been weak and VW’s diesel business in particular has been hurt  by its being caught allegedly cheating on auto-emission tests. ADB, which accounts for 68% of Tadir-Gan’s revenues, said it would not be able to repay creditors, suppliers and employees without a capital injection. If a German court approves the petition seeking protection from creditors, Tadir-Gan will have to write off $11.5 million, or 59%, of its shareholders’ equity, the company warned. Shares of Tadir-Gan , which is 53%-owned by FIMI and posted a $3 million loss in the first half, finished down 16.5% at 9 agorot (2 cents). (Yoram Gabison) 

Tel Aviv shares resume their two-week rally

Tel Aviv shares rose on Thursday after a rare break from their two-week-long rally the day before. Capping a gain of 5.5% for August, the TA-35 index climbed 0.45% to end at 1,660.04 points, while the TA-125 added 0.25% to 1,492.97, on heavy turnover of 1.82 billion shekels ($500 million). In a day heavy with earnings announcements, ILDC lost 1.1% to 34.82 after turning in a second-quarter loss of 7 million shekels. Castro fell 2.3% to 106.40 as sales and net profit both dropped about 18% in the quarter, while Astrom rose 5.2% to 14.92 on a more than doubling of its quarterly net to 89.7 million shekels. Phoenix rose 1% to 20.45. Parent company Delek Group said it had sold a 4.9% holding in the insurer in an off-the-floor transaction at 20.25 a share. In foreign currency trading, the dollar weakened 0.9% to a representative rate of 3.61 shekels. The euro lost 0.7% to 4.225. (TheMarker Staff)