Business in Brief: Robotic Parking Garages Unitronics to Split Into Two Companies

Ayalon controlling shareholder called to hearing over conduct ■ Tahal may get stock exchange listing in bailout of parent Kardan ■ Tel Aviv shares rebound from early losses

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Planned robotic parking garages by Unitronics
Planned robotic parking garages by UnitronicsCredit: ללא קרדיט

Ayalon controlling shareholder called to hearing over conduct

Levy Rachmani, the founder and controlling shareholder of insurer Ayalon, was called in to a hearing Thursday by the Capital Markets Commission after the board accused him of interference in management and inappropriate behavior, including sexually harassing a female director. The hearing was called in response to a letter from the board alerting regulators to what it said was Rachmani’s interference in management, six months after he lost his last formal role in the company, as a board member. Among other things, it accused Rachmani, 87, of inappropriately pressuring directors and giving orders to senior and even junior staff directly. Tensions with the board erupted over a year ago, when a dispute erupted between Rachmani and Ayalon chairman Shlomo Grofman over naming a CEO. Directors said they continued to give Grofman full support and threatened to step down if Rachmani tried to oust him. (Assa Sasson)

Unitronics to spin off automated parking garage business into separate company

Unitronics said Thursday it planned to split into two publicly traded companies March 10, one that will take over the company’s growing business in robotic parking garages and the second retaining its other business in industrial automation equipment. Shareholders will get one share in Utron, which will focus on the parking business, and one share in Unitronics. Unitronics said the two companies’ respective shares would be priced on Unitronics closing price the day before the split at a ratio of 52.8% to Utron and 47.2% to Unitronics. In addition, Unitronics will convert a 120 million shekel ($33 million) loan it made to Utron into equity. The company said the split would enable Utron management to focus on the parking garage business and capture its full value in its share price. Unitronics shares ended up 2.1% at 26.97 shekels. (Yoram Gabison)

Tahal may get stock exchange listing in bailout of parent Kardan

The water engineering planning company Tahal may be turned over to bondholders and listed for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, its parent company Kardan said Wednesday. Kardan offered that as a possibility to holders of its Series Aleph and Bet bonds this week after it said negotiations with a Chinese buyers to sell Tahal were not advancing after two years. The company said it was approaching other potential buyers but expressed concern that it wouldn’t be able to complete a sale by the October 2019 deadline set by bondholders. Kardan, which owes them 323 million euros ($368 million), was declared insolvent a year ago and negotiations to sell Tahal for 100 million euros to the Israeli private equity fund Fortissimo collapsed. Tahal is profitable, posting net profit of 12.6 million euros in the 12 months to September 2018 on revenue of 177 million euros. (Yoram Gabison)

Tel Aviv shares rebound from early losses

Tel Aviv shares recovered from early losses to end higher Thursday. The benchmark TA-35 index gained 0.5% to 1,571.21 points, while the TA-125 added more than 0.4% to 1,431.31, on turnover of 1.3 billion shekels ($360 million). Topping the gainers on the TA-125, Perrigo closed 5.9% higher at 180.10 shekels. It gained despite turning in fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 97 cents a share on revenue of $1.2 billion, both under expectations. Other blue chip gainers included Nice, which added 1.65% to 426, and Bank Leumi, which advanced 0.9% to 23.97. LivePerson rose 2.9% to 102.90. Opko Health dropped 8.7% to 9.19 even though it reported slashing its net loss for the fourth quarter to $76.1 million from $217.9 million a year earlier. Teva Pharmaceuticals finished down 1.4% at 61.70. (Michael Rochvarger)

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