Business in Brief: Tel Aviv Ignores Wall Street Bears as Cannabis Shares Resume Rally

Shari Arison reaches deal to sell Miya water business for $260 million ■ Group including U.S. investors puts $50m into Israeli energy firm Givot Olam

Cannabis seedlings are cared for by a worker in a green house of the cannabis cultivating and processing plant of BOL Pharma – Revadim Industrial Center in Lod, Israel.
Bea Kallos/AP

Shari Arison reaches deal to sell Miya water business for $260 million

Arison Investments, the investment vehicle of Israeli billionaire Shari Arison, said Monday it has sold its water company Miya for $260 million to the pan-European private equity investor Bridgepoint. The sale marks the latest move by Arison to divest her Israeli business holdings after selling Housing & Construction Limited last year and Salt of the Earth this month. She has also been gradually selling off a 15% stake in Bank Hapoalim, her biggest and most important holding. Founded in 2008, Miya provides technology to increase efficiency in centralized city water systems. It controls Indaqua, a Portuguese water and wastewater company, and has long-term contracts in the Philippines, Jamaica and the Bahamas to improve water use. Arison has been selling her assets at low valuations, but in the case of Miya, Arison Investments said it expected to post a profit of more than $100 million from the sale. (Michael Rochvarger)

Group including U.S. investors puts $50m into Israeli energy firm Givot Olam

A group of investors that includes Jewish-American families has agreed to invest $50 million in Givot Olam to help the Israeli energy partnership undertake more drilling in its Meged oil field, near the town of Rosh Ha’ayin. Alberta Texas Energy Ventures, as the group is called, said Monday that it would have a 40% stake in Givot Olam after the deal has been approved by company shareholders and Israel’s petroleum commissioner. A spokesman for the investor group said it included families that have been working for “the stability of the State of Israel and comprehensive regional development” and have invested in Israeli high-tech in the past, but declined to name them. The Meged field has produced in the past about 1 million barrels of oil, but its last well was capped due to technical problems that haven’t been resolved. Meanwhile, Givot Olam’s controlling shareholders have been locked in a dispute that has disrupted operations, forcing it to seek new financing. (Eran Azran) 

Housing & Construction selling ADO stake in bid to pay down debt

Housing & Construction Limited, the building company controlled by Israeli-U.S. real estate developer Naty Saidoff, moved to reduce its debt loan by agreeing to sell much of its 37.5% holding in ADO Group. H&C said it had reached an agreement to sell 10% of ADO to Go Capital for 236 million shekels ($64 million).That worked out to 86 shekels a share, a 14% premium of ADO’s Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-listed share price. H&C said the deal was contingent on its selling an additional 20% of ADO within four months and a further 10% to Go itself or a buyer that Go will find, for at least 87 shekels a share. In addition, H&C gave Moshe Dayan, a fellow shareholder in ADO, an option to buy 7% of ADO from it at 88 shekels a share. Shares of H&C, which has debt of around 4.8 billion shekels, ended down 0.1% at 6.20 shekels. (Yoram Gabison)

Tel Aviv ignores Wall Street bears as cannabis shares resume rally

Tel Aviv shares shrugged off a bearish Wall Street on Monday to end higher, as medical marijuana shares renewed their rally. The TA-35 and TA-125 indexes both closed about 0.2% higher at 1,538.53 and 1,391.02 points, respectively, as 1.59 billion shekels ($430 million) in shares changed hands. A day after Israel’s cabinet approved exports, many cannabis shares rose sharply: InterCure jumped 20.1% to 9.45 shekels and Dunivo gained 10.5% to 3.13, but Together eked out just an 0.7% rise to 5.89. AudioCodes led gainers on the TA-125, advancing 4.8% to 51.54 after it beat analysts’ expectations for fourth-quarter 2018 earnings at $4.5 million. Volume leader Bezeq dropped 3.45% to end at 3.05. Israel Discount Bank rose 1.5% to close at 12.50.  In foreign currency trading, the dollar traded quietly but the euro strengthened by close to 0.7% against the shekel to a representative rate of 4.2017. (Assa Sasson)