Daily Roundup / FIMI's No. 1, Says Preqin

Israeli stores get eggs once again, but consumers will have to pony up 5% more for them; Teva parts ways with Teva USA CEO William Marth; Leviathan 2 leak finally sealed, ILDC wants to sell Myra.

Fimi's No. 1, says Preqin: First Israel Mezzanine Investors, located in Israel and run by Ishay Davidi, is the best of the 6,000 private equity buyout fund in the world that it examined, says research company Preqin ("intelligent data"). The ranking is based on the returns of the four funds that FIMI has been managing over time, which have a combined $1.6 billion in managed assets. The world's private equity funds have some $3 trillion in assets under management and in Israel, are responsible for a deal flow amounting to about $3 billion a year. Preqin compares between funds that were founded in the same year and measures their performance by internal rate of return and the investment multiple, meaning, the ratio between the cash investment in portfolio companies and the cash income these companies generate.

Supply of eggs resumes, but they'll cost more: After government officials folded before farmers and agreed to a price increase, the supply of eggs to Israeli stores resumed on Tuesday – but consumers will pay 5% more. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Agriculture Minister Orit Noked agreed to a 4-agorot increase per egg. Farmers had argued for an increase to the price-controlled ovum because their feed costs had spiraled skyward. The increase applies to 98% of Israel's egg consumption: prices of organic eggs, free-range eggs and the like aren't controlled by government. What happens to their price remains to be seen.

Leviathan 2 leak finally sealed: A year and a half after its discovery, the leak at the deep-water Leviathan 2 exploratory well has been sealed. Water had been entering the well bore and leaking back into the sea, Texas-based Noble Energy reported in May of last year, which had halted the exploration at that well. One problem with well seepage of the sort is that as long as the leaking liquid is water, that's one thing. But if the drill had progressed and the leak had been oil, an environmental catastrophe could have ensued. Noble, which is partnered with the Israeli conglomerate Delek in exploring the Mediterranean seabed, said at the time that the water leak had no environmental impact.

Teva lets Bill Marth go: William Marth, CEO of Teva USA from January 2005 to January 2010 and, since then, CEO of Teva Americas Generics (north and south America), has been let go. Since taking over as CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in May, Jeremy Levin has been shuffling management. The Israeli generic drug maker described the changes as "an orderly management succession" in which Marth will leave immediately but serve as a senior adviser to Levin until he retires at the end of 2013.

ILDC trying to sell Myra prospect stake: ILDC Energy wants to sell a chunk of its exploration rights at the Myra deep-sea gas prospect, after exploratory wells at it and the nearby Sara prospect came up empty. They're dry for gas at the target strata, it would seem, but oil is still a prospect. ILDC Energy is dangling its Myra shares before Noble Energy and Delek, which are exploring for gas in the Mediterranean seabed, and other prospective buyers as well. Selling the Myra stake could help ILDC Energy raise capital in the future, but it remains it be seen if anybody will bite.

Taro files report, skimps on details: Taro Pharmaceuticals filed its quarterly report yesterday, in which details were few and far between. That may be because of the open tender by the Indian pharma company Sun (which already owns 66% of Taro) to buy outstanding Taro stock, for $39.50 per share, which is 15% below Taro's share price on the market. Some shareholders feel Sun should offer a tad more, and they may feel even more strongly after the report, which shows Taro earning $65 million in the third quarter of 2012, an increase of 11% sequentially. Revenues had increased 16% year over year to $161 million, despite a slight quantitative decrease in sales. Operating profit shot up 33% against the same quarter of 2011, despite a 78% increase in legal costs, to $82 million.

Knesset passes 'trapped profits' law: Lawmakers approved the "trapped profits" bill on Monday, by a majority of 38 to 21.  Not many of the elected officials actually attended the debate, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did (and supported the bill). In short, foreign companies seeking to expatriate profits from Israel will have to pay tax in the range of 6% to 17.5%, instead of 10% to 25% which is the case under current law. Deflecting arguments that Israel was giving candy to rich multinationals, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz claimed that, au contraire, Israel would get billions in tax income – "at least NIS 3 billion a year" - where presently it gets none.

With reporting by Amiram Cohen, Yoram Gabison, Itai Trilnick, Eran Azran and Reuters