Business in Brief: Shares on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Decline Modestly

Finance Committee paves way for foreign mutual funds to be marketed to Israelis; Israel Chemical’s higher quarterly profits beat analysts’ expectations; Edison Research to analyze firms for TASE.

Stock prices flash on an electronic screen displaying world clocks at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.
Bloomberg

Finance Committee paves way for foreign mutual funds to be marketed to Israelis

The Knesset Finance Committee approved regulations Tuesday that will permit foreign mutual funds to market their investments to Israelis. The change in the regulations will allow mutual funds in the United States and Europe with more than $20 billion in assets to be marketed to Israelis via investment advisers at the country’s banks, on the condition that the funds appoint a Hebrew-speaking local representative and meet certain other terms. The investments offered the Israelis must be entirely foreign rather than Israeli and the individual funds must have assets worth at least $50 million. The new regulations were approved by the Knesset committee following changes requested by mutual fund representatives. The ultimate, unanimous committee vote came despite reservations voiced by the representatives of the exchange traded note sector, which markets investments that track an index, commodity or bonds, and who said they would be harmed by the change. (Uri Tomer)

Israel Chemical’s higher quarterly profits beat analysts’ expectations

Israel Chemicals Ltd. reported higher quarterly profit Tuesday that beat estimates, boosted by higher potash sales, cost-cutting measures and lower financing expenses. ICL, which has exclusive permits to extract minerals from the Dead Sea, earned 14 cents per diluted share excluding one-time items in the fourth quarter, up from 9 cents a year earlier. Quarterly sales were up 1.7% to $1.43 billion. One of the three largest suppliers of the crop nutrient potash to China, India and Europe, ICL was forecast to record adjusted earnings per share of 11 cents on sales of $1.41 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. “Efficiency initiatives, which we expect to continue beyond 2016, reduced our production costs and led to record potash production at ICL Dead Sea and drove incremental profitability despite a difficult operating environment,” said Stefan Borgas, ICL’s chief executive. ICL’s stock closed off 1.5% to 16.30 shekels ($4.19) on the Tel Aviv exchange on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Edison Research to analyze firms for TASE

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange has signed a first of its kind agreement with the international business research firm Edison Investment Research, through which the London-based firm will provide analyses of high-tech and biomedical companies traded on the stock exchange. The project is an effort to make it easier for investors to properly evaluate how much tech and biomed companies are worth from an investment standpoint and to encourage additional tech firms to list on the TASE. The firms surveyed must commit to remain in the program for two years to maintain the independence of the evaluation, which will be made available by Edison through its distribution networks. The research is being funded in part by the companies themselves, in addition to the TASE and the Finance Ministry. The Office of the Chief Scientist will provide subvention for the research of smaller firms. (Shelly Appelberg)

Shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange decline modestly in Tuesday's trading

Shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange closed moderately lower Tuesday. The benchmark Tel Aviv-25 index declined by 0.21% to 1,417.90 points while the broader Tel Aviv-100 index lost 0.36%, closing at 1,211.20 points. Trading volume for the day was 1.37 billion shekels ($352 million). The corporate bond market also saw declines, with the Tel Bond 20, Tel Bond 40 and Tel Bond 60 off about 0.5%. Shares of Allot Communications declined by 5.2% to 18.56 shekels on reports reflecting declining revenues and widening losses. Israel Land Development Energy’s shares plummeted by 13.9% to 21 agorot. In other developments, Arko Holdings announced that its GPM subsidiary has purchased 21 gas stations and convenience stores in Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska for about $6.5 million, in addition to the value of merchandise and cash on hand at the locations. (Shelly Appelberg)