Business in Brief: Teva Unfazed as U.S. Approves Second Generic Rival for Copaxone

Gilat finally swings to profit ■ Leumi turns bearish on Leviathan ■ Stocks end mixed

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries factory in Jerusalem, December 17, 2017
Tsafrir Abayov/AP

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries faces a second generic competitor to its blockbuster Copaxone multiple sclerosis treatment but says the setback will not affect its 2018 outlook. Novartis’ Sandoz division said Tuesday it had won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a larger 40-milligram dosage of its Glatopa drug, a generic copy of Copaxone. Problems at a plant producing the drug scuttled plans to have the larger Glatopa dosage on sale in 2017, letting Mylan muscle in on lucrative market share with its Copaxone copy. Still, Teva said that it had anticipated a second generic competitor to Copaxone this year and that its 2018 outlook for sales and profits released last year took that into account. “We remain committed to providing Teva’s Copaxone 40 milligram to patients and continuing to support our patients,” Teva said in an emailed statement to Reuters. Teva shares finished 0.5% lower at 66.10 shekels ($18.69). (Yoram Gabison and Reuters)

Gilat posts full year GAAP profit in 2017 for first time in seven years
For the first time in seven years the satellite-communications technology maker Gilat ended the year with a profit under generally accepted accounting principles. The company said Tuesday net profit for 2017 reached $6.55 million, or 12 cents a share, turning around from a loss of $4.09 million, or 10 cents, in 2016 as revenues climbed 1% to $282.8 million. For 2018, the news will remain good, CEO Yona Ovadia said, with revenue between $285 million and $305 million and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization between $30 million and $34 million, up as much as 30% from 2017’s $26.2 million. Still, Gilat had a disappointing fourth quarter, with net profit falling to $3.4 million, or 6 cents a share, from $4.5 million, or 8 cents, a year earlier despite a rise in sales. Gilat shares ended 3.5% higher at 27.48 shekels ($7.77). (Yoram Gabison)

Leumi turns bearish on prospects of Leviathan natgas exports
The prospects for natural gas exports from Israel’s Leviathan field to Egypt or Turkey have faded and now the only option is to sell liquefied natural gas to distant markets, Leumi Capital Markets said in a report Tuesday. Leumi has long held that the Leviathan partners, led by the U.S. firm Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group, would find export markets, but the big find at Egypt’s Zohr field and Cyprus’ Calypso have increased supply in the Eastern Mediterranean basin. “They say that only a donkey doesn’t change its mind when reality changes,” said Ella Fried, energy analyst at Leumi. “I don’t see any possibility of exporting to the LNG facilities in Egypt today. I don’t rule out exports altogether, but it’s very difficult to put an exact date on them.” Fried cut the value of Leviathan to $5.6 billion from her previous $6.1 billion and lowered her rating on Ratio, the smallest of the Leviathan partners, to Market Perform. (Eran Azran)

Tel Aviv shares end mixed after losing early gains
Tel Aviv stocks closed mixed Tuesday after shedding early gains and suffering Wall Street’s fall, at least early in the session, for the first time in three sessions. The benchmark TA-35 index edged down 0.09% to close at 1,467.17 points, while the TA-125 eked out a 0.01% rise to 1,332.00, on turnover of 1.33 billion shekels ($380 million). Oil and gas was the only sector to show a loss for the session, topped by declines of 2% to 8.15 shekels for Delek Drilling and 1.5% to 40 agorot for Isramco. Insurance stocks were the biggest gainers, with Harel rising 2.25% to 25.85. Frutarom sagged after a one-day bump higher, falling 2.4% to 310.20 and making it the biggest loser among TA-125 stocks. Elbit Systems rose 2.5% to 518.50. In foreign currency trading, the dollar continued higher, adding 0.09% to a representative rate of 3.527 shekels. The euro strengthened 0.7% to 4.3526. (Guy Erez)