Business in Brief / Dollar Loses Ground to Shekel

Nice turns in 36% jump in quarterly profit; Perrigo posts 32% rise in 2nd-quarter net; Ormat sells stake in power plants for $175m; Blue chips lift lackluster TASE higher.

Reuters

Dollar loses ground to shekel

The dollar skidded lower against the shekel all day yesterday, with its biggest losses coming after the Bank of Israel set official rates in the afternoon, as the euro strengthen on world currency markets. The greenback fell 0.5% to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.875 shekels and fell to 3.8541 in late trading. The euro was also down sharply against the shekel, losing 0.65% to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.4247 and in late trading was at 4.4041, even though the currency recovered on the dollar, helped by the strongest rise in German factory orders since early 2008. The euro gained almost 1% on the dollar to put it back to $1.1480. “In spite of a small rebound [Wednesday], the dollar is in the verge of breaking through its support level,” said currency trader FXCM. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Nice turns in 36% jump in quarterly profit

NiceSystems, which makes systems for monitoring call centers and security networks, yesterday reported a 36% year-on-year jump in fourth-quarter profit, driven by growth in its analytics applications. NICE earned a record $1.02 per diluted share excluding one-time items, up from 75 cents a year earlier. Revenue rose 9% to a record $294.2 million to bring total 2014 sales to just over $1 billion. That put earnings well ahead of the 94 cents a share on revenue of $292.1 million in the fourth quarter that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S expected on average. Nice forecast first-quarter revenue of up to $248 million and EPS excluding one-time items of 66 cents to 72 cents. It projected 2015 revenue of $1.07 billion to $1.09 billion, with adjusted EPS of $3.06 to $3.20, all below analysts’ expectations. Shares of Nice closed up 2.8% at 202.90 shekels ($52.63). (Omri Zerachovitz)

Perrigo posts 32% rise in 2nd-quarter net

Perrigo, the maker of generic over-the-counter drugs, said yesterday it earned a net $245 million or $1.82 a share in its fiscal second quarter, up 32% from a year ago and beating analysts’ consensus estimate by 3 cents a share to $1.07 billion. The company posted a 9% rise in revenue for the quarter, short of the consensus estimate of $1.09 billion. The growth was attributable to a $79-million rise in sales of Tysabri, the multiple sclerosis drug it acquired when it bought Ireland’s Elan. “Our team remains intensely focused on launching greater than $235 million in new products in fiscal 2015,” CEO Joseph Pappa said. Perrigo said earnings would probably reach $7.25-$7.45 a share this year, compared with the Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S average estimate of $7.37. Perrigo rose 1.4% to end at 597.40 shekels ($154.97). (Yoram Gabison)

Ormat sells stake in power plants for $175m

Ormat Technologies said Yesterday it sold a 40% stake in five power plants to the private equity fund Northleaf Capital Partners for $175 million. The plants will operate as a joint venture, with Ormat retaining management duties. The agreement includes two geothermal plants in Hawaii and Nevada and three recovered-energy generation plants. “This milestone transaction represents a significant opportunity for Ormat to strengthen its balance sheet by monetizing operational assets at an attractive valuation,” said Ormat CEO Isaac Angel. With offices in Toronto, London and Menlo Park, California, Northleaf manages more than $6 billion in assets. Shares of Ormat Technologies were up 1.4%, to $27.58, in late-morning trading in New York. (Yoram Gabison) 

Blue chips lift lackluster TASE higher

Blue chips led an otherwise lackluster market higher on Thursday as Teva Pharmaceuticals, NICE Systems and Perrigo all reported stronger quarterly earnings. The benchmark TA-25 index added 0.3% to end at 1,461.33 points while the TA-100 index rose 0.2% to 1,282.18. Turnover was 1.35 billion shekels ($350 million). Tech, financial and real estate stocks were mostly lower. Eliezer Fishman’s Jerusalem Economy, weighed down by debt problems, fell 4.5% to close at 13.73 and its Industrial Buildings Limited unit was not far behind, dropping 3.7%to 4.27. TowerJazz ended a five-day losing streak, rising 4.8% to end at 57.40 shekels in unusually heavy trading. (Omri Zerachovitz)