Business in Brief: Wix Q4 Revenue Rises

SodaStream International reports record quarterly operating profits ■ California wildfires and higher potash prices boost ICL operating profit ■ Idan Ofer ups stake in Atletico Madrid

Employees work at website-designer firm Wix.com offices in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 4, 2016.
BAZ RATNER / REUTERS

Wix.com Q4 revenue rises; company sees 40% growth in 2018

Wix.com, a Tel Aviv-based firm that helps small businesses build and operate websites, posted higher adjusted profit in the fourth quarter and forecast 40% revenue growth in 2018. The company reported Wednesday quarterly profit of 16 cents a share excluding one-time items, compared with 7 cents a year earlier. Revenue grew 41% to $118.5 million. Wix offers free basic features for setting up websites but users must pay for extra services such as shopping carts, individual web addresses and site traffic analysis. The firm is projecting 2018 revenue of $591 to $595 million, up by 39% to 40% from 2017 and free cash flow of $98 to $100 million, up by 39% to 41%. Analysts were forecasting 2018 revenue of $557 million. For the first quarter it estimates revenue of $135 million to $136 million, up 46% to 47% from a year earlier. The company also expanded its strategic partnership with Google Cloud, choosing G Suite as the exclusive provider of business productivity applications on its platform. (Reuters)

SodaStream International reports record quarterly operating profits

SodaStream, a maker of home drink carbonation machines, Wednesday reported revenue of $158 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, a rise of 20% year-over-year. Annual revenue for 2017 was $543 million, a rise of 14% from 2016, on a rise in demand in most of the company’s geographic regions. Operating profit in the fourth quarter was $26 million, a rise of 36% from a year earlier and a record high for the company. Net profit for the quarter was $26 million, up 63% from a year earlier, and $74.4 million for the year, up 67% from 2016. SodaStream shares rose 0.94% to 278.00 shekels ($78.75) in Tel Aviv Wednesday. (Guy Erez)

California wildfires and higher potash prices boost ICL operating profit 

Israel Chemicals reported Wednesday net profit of $155 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, or 12 cents a share, compared to $32 million, or 3 cents a share, from a year earlier. Operating profits rose 160% to $189 million, 14% of turnover. Fourth quarter revenue grew 1.7% to $1.4 billion, boosted by a $20 per ton rise in the price of potash to an average of $222 per ton during the quarter. Price increases in bromine-based flame retardants increased quarterly sales revenue by $53 million, while a strong euro exchange rate against the dollar added another $34 million, but all this was offset by a $64 million sales declines by its ICL’s business sales units. Sales of flame retardants were boosted by major fires in California and Europe. On the other hand, the increasing strength of the dollar and the shekel boosted production costs, cutting operating profits by $17 million. ICL shares closed up 3.72% at 14.51 shekels ($4.11) in Tel Aviv trading Wednesday. (Yoram Gabison)

Orbotech shares soar as company beats earnings forecast

Orbotech, which develops systems to improve production quality for the electronics industry, released another set of strong financial results Wednesday for fourth quarter 2017 and projected revenue growth of 12 to 14% for 2018. The company, which is based in Yavneh, had profits of $56 million for the quarter, or $1.14 per share, compared to 56 cents a share for the quarter a year earlier. The sharp improvement was the result of $18.8 million in tax benefits for fourth quarter 2017, in contrast to a $4.7 million accounting provision a year earlier. Orbotech also reported record revenues of $256.9 million. The company is active in three fields: devices to monitor printed circuit board production, flat panel display monitoring and semiconductor devices. Printed circuit business revenues were up 17% in the fourth quarter to $90 million, including $55 million in equipment sales. Flat-screen business revenues were up just 0.7% to $72 million while semiconductor device division sales grew 45% to $90 million. (Yoram Gabison) 

Idan Ofer ups stake in Atletico Madrid

Israeli businessman Idan Ofer has boosted his stake in the Spanish soccer team Atletico Madrid to 33% and is now the team’s second-largest shareholder. China’s Dilian Wanda Group said it sold Ofer its 18% share in the club for about 50 million euros ($62 million). In November, Ofer paid about the same amount for his initial, 15% stake in Atletico Madrid, suggesting a decline in the club’s value. Wanda bought its interest in the club in 2015. The soccer franchise is the third-largest in Spain, after Real Madrid and Barcelona. (Corin Degani)

Most leading TASE indexes up

All of the leading Tel Aviv Stock Exchange indexes showed gains in Wednesday trading with the exception of the Oil and Gas index, which fell 1.22% to 814 points. The blue chip TA-35 index ended the day up 0.52% at 1,474.78 points, while the broader TA-125 index was 0.66% higher on the day at 1,340.76 points. Trading volume was 1.64 billion shekels ($465 million). The most active stock was Israel Chemicals, 156 million shekels’ worth changed hands. (See additional coverage above). On the bond markets, property firm Gazit Globe wrapped up the institutional phase of a new offering and raised 850 million shekels, nearly double what was planned. (Guy Erez)