Business in Brief: Tel Aviv Shares Post Fourth Straight Rise

Teva CEO Schultz says company’s key U.S. generics market has stabilized ■ Naphtha to make tender offer for Isramco ■ Current, former Aeronautics executives suspected of insider trading

FILE PHOTO: A student group exits after visiting the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday, August 4, 2016.
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Teva CEO Schultz says company’s key U.S. generics market has stabilized

Teva Pharmaceuticals CEO Kare Schultz said on Tuesday that its key U.S. generics market was no longer in decline after five years, although he said that didn’t spell a turnaround. “There has been a dramatic change and we no longer have this spiral of price declines, but we have a much more stable situation,” Schultz told investors at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. He said Teva had contributed to the stabilization process by no longer selling products whose prices are below manufacturing costs. “Of course, we had to give up some of the volume. That didn’t hurt us because we were not making money on it. And on some of the volume, we got price increases,” he added. Teva’s debt has fallen to below $27 billion from as much as $35 billion. Schultz said Teva would not raise new equity capital to help with its debt. Its shares ended down 0.4% at 65 shekels ($17.69) in Tel Aviv Wednesday. (Yoram Gabison) 

Naphtha to make tender offer for Isramco

Naphtha, the Israeli energy company controlled by Kobi Maimon, said on Wednesday that it was making a tender offer for the New York-traded shares of its Isramco Inc. subsidiary. The offer of $110.36 a share, or a combined $88 million, was lower than $118.65 per share at which Isramco was trading on the Nasdaq Tuesday and comes as royalty payments due it from the Tamar gas field have risen to 9.5% from 5.5%, as the Tamar partners have covered their initial investment costs. That is expected to add tens of millions of dollars to Isramco’s royalty income every year. The offer to Isramco’s minority shareholders, who hold about 30% of the shares, will result in its delisting and enable Maimon’s Equital holding group to reduce a tier in its pyramid structure in line with rules coming into force under Israel’s Business Concentration Law. Naphtha closed up 6% at 26.58 shekels ($7.23) in Tel Aviv. (Eran Azran)

Current, former Aeronautics executives suspected of insider trading

Investigators raided the offices of the troubled drone maker Aeronautics this week on suspicion that five current and former executives may have traded on insider information shortly after the company went public in 2017. The Israel Securities Authority raid occurred on Tuesday, but few details were released. It now emerges that the five suspects sold shares at the end of July 2017, about a month before the company announced that the Defense Ministry had suspended its export license for its Orbiter 1K drone to a major customer. Aeronautics shares dropped 17% on the news and remained well below their IPO price Wednesday amid a host of other problems besetting the company.  At the end of last August, 11 top Aeronautics executives, including its CEO, Amos Mathan, were called for a pre-trial hearing on suspicions that are subject to a gag order. Aeronautics ended 0.9% up at 9.35 shekels ($2.54) on Wednesday. (Guy Erez)

Tel Aviv shares post fourth straight rise

Tel Aviv shares marked their fourth straight day of gains Wednesday, paced by banking and energy stocks. The benchmark TA-35 index climbed 0.3% to 1,503.81 points, while the TA-125 added 0.2% to 1,367.66, on turnover of 1.12 billion shekels ($300 million). Bank shares were led by gains of about 2.1% for Israel Discount and First International to 12.17 and 82.59 shekels, respectively. Delek Group paced oil and gas gains, rising 3.1% to 580.30 shekels. ADO closed 3.9% higher at 73.85 after reporting that its ADO Properties unit would post a 270 million euro ($311 million) profit on an increase in the value of its real estate assets in the second half of 2018. Globrands gained 1.05% to 406.10. Its controlling shareholder and CEO offered to buy 10% of the stock at 470.30 shekels a share from minority shareholders. (TheMarker Staff)