Daily Roundup / IDB Posts Losses, Banks Start Slashing Jobs

IDB Holding Corp lost NIS 20 million in the third quarter of 2012; Hapoalim and Leumi laying off hundreds of workers, while Indigo continues hiring.

IDB Holding posts loss for third quarter: IDB Holding Corp lost NIS 20 million in the third quarter of 2012, said the company at the top of Nochi Dankner's conglomerate. That compares with a loss of NIS 1.7 million a year ago. Its subsidiary IDB Development netted NIS 110 million in the third quarter, compared with losing NIS 1.7 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2011. For the first nine months of the year, IDB Holding's loss is NIS 973 million, compared with NIS 2.6 billion in the same period of the year before. IDB Holding has gross financial debt of NIS 6.1 billion and net debt of NIS 5.36 billion, excluding NIS 735 million cash. Its auditors have affixed a going-concern warning on its financial statements, but the board of directors claims the company can meet its liabilities despite the NIS 1.6 billion equity deficit (surplus liabilities over assets).
Hapoalim, Leumi start layoffs: Israel's two biggest banks have begun to slim their staffs. On the day Bank Hapoalim reported a 32% upswing in profit for the third quarter of 2012, it also issued hundreds of pink slips. The bank, which said it netted NIS 625 million in the quarter and NIS 1.9 billion from the start of the year, won't say how many it's firing, only that a number of technological projects have been completed and some "external workers" have been let go. "Most returned to the companies providing the services," the bank stated. TheMarker, however, has learned that 250 were fired from the technology department, of whom 100 are indeed returning to the manpower companies that sent them to Hapoalim. Leumi is also firing 250 veteran workers, after the new chief executive, Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, overturned her predecessor's decision to let go primarily new hirees without tenure. The workers being fired are getting enlarged compensation – around NIS 600,000 each, on average, well above what they are due under their employment terms.
In Kiryat Gat, Indigo hiring: At the other end of the rainbow, printing technology company Indigo expects to hire hundreds of people next year after having invested NIS 150 million in expanding capacity at its plant in Kiryat Gat. "Within five years we will double Indigo's production to $2 billion a year," vows its chief executive, Alon Bar-Shani, ahead of formally cutting the ribbon on the company's new ink production plant in the city. Bar-Shani declines to reveal Indigo Israel's sales figures but industry analysts think the company achieved revenues of around a billion dollars in 2012. By the way, the new ink plant actually commenced production weeks back, a year after the cornerstone ceremony. During the last year the company hired 200 for its Kiryat Gat operations, bringing its workforce to about 700; during the year to come Indigo expects to hire 300 more.
HOT gearing up for huge financing move: Having decided to delist the HOT cable TV company from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by buying out the public's 31% holding, now the company's alphas are gearing up for a giant financing round in the United States. Acting through privately held companies, controlling shareholder Patrick Drahi hopes to raise $1.1 billion (about NIS 4.3 billion), if not more, through the private companies issuing premium bonds. Goldman Sachs will be handling the bonds placement. HOT will use some of the proceeds to repay NIS 1.9 billion to banks, mainly Hapoalim and Leumi.
Mazal tov, Hapoalim: Who can get enough of Bank Hapoalim stories? In case you haven't reached surfeit, Hapoalim said on Sunday that the international magazine The Banker named it "Bank of the Year" in Israel for 2012, again. The Banker, published by the Financial Times, lauded Bank Hapoalim (says Bank Hapoalim) for its "record impressive growth across all segments," as evinced by its growing profits and "trailblazing in the fields of mobile and online banking."
Teva ups investment in Rexahn: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is investing $750,000 more in U.S. cancer drugs development company Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, further to the Israeli company's undertaking to put money into development of RX-3117, a proprietary anti-cancer treatment targeting solid tumors. Preclinical exploratory trials of RX-3117 that Rexahn announced in August found that the patent-protected drug is "bioavailable" when swallowed, which in English means that the stomach doesn't break it down to the point of inefficacy. An injected drug is considered 100% bioavailable, but when swallowed, a drug is liable to degrade.
With  reporting by Tali Heruti-Sover, Amir Teig and Michael Rochvarger