Business in Brief

Israel's Delek Drilling in Pact With Russia's Gazprom to Develop Natgas-powered Transportation

Biran loses control of Alon Group after cash fails to arrive in time ■ Pharma gives end-of-the-day lift to stocks ■ Bank of Israel names two economics professors to monetary policy committee ■

Reuters

Delek Drilling in pact with Gazprom to develop natgas-powered transportation

Israel’s Delek Drilling and the Russian energy company Gazprom agreed on Monday focused on exploring joint projects to develop transportation based on natural gas. In a non-binding memorandum of understanding the two said they would set up a joint team to identify and advance plans to use natural gas to power heavy equipment, trains, boat and agricultural equipment. “Cooperation between two leading energy companies is made possible as part of Israeli-Russian bilateral relations and comes under the rubric of an MOU signed last June by the Russian and Israeli energy ministries,” the Delek and Gazprom said in a joint statement. The Israeli government declared seven years ago it would encourage the use of natural gas in transportation, but the plans went nowhere beyond some pilot programs. Gazprom Vice Chairman Alexander Medvedev noted that natgas-fueled vehicles generate far less pollution even with existing technology. Delek Drilling shares ended down 2.8% at 10.53 shekels ($2.98). (Eran Azran and Oren Dori)

Biran loses control of Alon Group after cash fails to arrive in time

Shraga Biran and the kibbutz purchasing organizations lost control of the Alon Group to bondholders on Monday after a last-minute deal to inject capital into the company failed to be completed in time. Biran had reached an agreement with Canadian investor Corbin Blume for his Jaguar Resources to inject $35 million into Alon, which would have enabled Biran to meet a deadline to bring up its cash holdings to 220 million shekels ($62 million) by October 1. The deadline passed without the money arriving and bondholders declined to wait, but a deal with Blume remains possible under the new ownership. “The company will continue to act to complete the Canadian investor Corbin Blume’s investment offer which would enable development of the company’s energy business for the benefit of creditors and shareholders,” Alon said. Alon’s board stepped down, with the exception of Chairman Shuki Oren. CEO Avi Geffen is also remaining at his post for now. (Eran Azran)

Bank of Israel names two economics professors to monetary policy committee

The Bank of Israel’s monetary policy committee is back to its full complement of six members after two years when it had just four. The central bank said on Monday that academic economists Zvi Hercowitz and Moshe Hazan were appointed for four-year terms as external members. A third outsider, economist Reuben Gronau, was reappointed. Hercowitz is a professor at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center and professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University, and has served as a consultant to the Bank of Israel Research Department. Hazan is an associate professor at Tel Aviv University and research fellow at the Center for Economic Policy Research in London. In fact, the committee has had little to do since early 2015 when the base lending rate was lowered to 0.1%. It has since remained at there and the committee now meets once every two months instead of monthly as it did in the past. (TheMarker Staff)

Pharma gives end-of-the-day lift to stocks

Tel Aviv ended higher on Monday as they got a end-of-the-day lift from dual-listed pharma shares. Teva Pharmaceuticals led the pack, jumping 5.6% by close to 65.72 shekels ($18.61), with Perrigo showing a 2.2% gain to 30.260 and Mylan a 1.7% rise to 112.60. The blue chip TA-35 index ended up 0.1% at 1.429,88 points, while the TA-125 added 0.15% to 1,302.60, on turnover of 1.19 billion shekels. Other big gainers were Nova, which jumped 6.5% to close at a record high 105.30, marking a gain of 100% so far this year. Property stocks Alrov Real Estate and Africa Residences also rallied – Alrov advancing 5% to 125.20 and Africa 2.7% to 81.18. Redhill finished 2% up at 3.30 after it said it was cutting its timetable for Phase III clinical trials of its RGHD104 drug, saving it about $14 million. Cerragon retreated after two days of strong rises to finish 2.3% down at 7.11. (Omri Zerachovitz)