Israel Chemicals: Short-term Costs From Acid Spill Will Be ‘Relatively Modest’

Business in Brief | Ben-Moshe, Leviev drop out of bidding for Africa Israel ■ Shares slide into loss as Wall Street opens lower

Leakage of acidic effluent from a local fertilizer plant affected 20 kilometers of Ashalim stream in Judean Desert.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Ben-Moshe, Leviev drop out of bidding for Africa Israel

Moti Ben-Moshe and Lev Leviev dropped out of the bidding for control of Africa Israel Investments on Wednesday, after they rejected bondholders’ calls for them to break up their partnership. “I don’t believe it is appropriate to ask Mr. Leviev to leave the partnership and I have no intention of breaking up the preliminary agreement between us,” Ben-Moshe said, after the court overseeing the sale of indebted Africa Israel asked the bidders to improve their offers. He also rejected the idea of improving his original offer, which means there is now only one bidder for the real estate company – from the U.S.-Israeli brothers Naty and Ofer Saidoff. Earlier in the day, bondholders had said any of the two bidders who raised their offer by 20 million shekels ($5.7 million) could enter into exclusive negotiations over a final agreement. Sources close to the Saidoffs said they were surprised by Ben-Moshe’s decision. Bondholders are due to meet Thursday to weigh the offers again. (Shelly Appelberg)

Israel Chemicals: Short-term costs from spill will be ‘relatively modest’

Israel Chemicals said Wednesday that the short-term financial costs from a chemical spill last week would be small, but that it might face legal action from the government. “Following initial assessments by the company and its insurance brokers, ICL believes its overall short-term direct financial exposure resulting from the spill will be relatively modest. Events such as the spill that occurred are typically covered by insurance that the company maintains, with an insignificant deductible payment,” ICL said, five days after large amounts of highly acidic wastewater poured into the Judean Desert after the wall of an evaporation pool partially collapsed. ICL said its Rotem Amfert plant, which makes phosphate-based products, leading to downstream derivatives such as phosphoric acids, continued to operate at over 50% capacity and had an adequate inventory. Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry authorized it to begin using another facility for storing phosphogypsum water until at least July 10. ICL shares ended down 0.2% at 16.08 shekels. (TheMarker Staff)

Shares slide into loss as Wall Street opens lower

Tel Aviv shares slipped into the red in the final hour of trading Wednesday as Wall Street opened lower. The blue chip TA-35 index finished down 0.2% at 1,433.19 points, while the TA-125 edged 0.08% lower to 1,292.92, in another day of thin trading with just over 1 billion shekels ($280 million) of shares changing hands. Among key losers, Teva Pharmaceuticals lost 1.7% to 115.20 shekels and Super-Sol fell 1.15% to 18.10. Leumi Capital Markets said in a report that Super-Sol’s recent rally was “too aggressive” and lowered its rating to Market Perform. Among gainers, Foresight jumped 7.7% to 6.98 shekels after it reported that a prototype of its anti-collision technology had succeeded in trials. Software maker Sapiens plans to sells tens of millions of dollars in bonds in Tel Aviv, the first time the publicly traded company will be issuing debt, TheMarker has learned. In foreign currency trading, the dollar added to gains to reach a Bank of Israel rate of 3.5220 shekels. (Guy Erez)