In Meeting With Steve Mnuchin, Israel's Finance Minister Hints at Cut in Corporate Taxes

Business in Brief | Pluristem Therapeutics shares close down 14% following below-market share issue ■ Harel Insurance is partner in $460 million purchase of Los Angeles office building

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin meetS Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon at the David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem, October 27, 2017.
Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Avi

In meeting with U.S. treasury secretary, Kahlon hints at cut in Israeli corporate taxes 

At a meeting on Friday with visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon dropped a hint about a possible reduction in Israeli corporate tax rates. Mnuchin presented the Trump administration’s plans for tax cuts, which include a corporate tax cut, after which Kahlon replied that Israel would adapt its tax policy to changes in the United States as necessary. The statement, although not explicit, has particular importance now when Israeli political figures have been debating what to do with tax revenues that have been coming in consistently higher than anticipated.  Although initially President Donald Trump spoke about cutting the U.S. tax rate to 15%, current plans speak of a cut from 35% to 20% in the United States. Israel’s rate is 24% and is due to drop to 23% next year. (Hagai Amit) 

Pluristem Therapeutics shares close down 14% following below-market share issue

Shares of Pluristem Therapeutics lost 14.43% in the course of Monday trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange after the company announced in a shelf prospectus that it would be raising funds at a minimum share price that was substantially less than its prevailing market price. The shelf prospectus of the Haifa-based company, which develops drugs using human cells, featured a minimum price of 5.70 shekels ($1.61) despite the fact that shares of the company were trading at more than 6.90 shekels Sunday. The price drop did not close the gap, however, in that, as of the close of trading in Tel Aviv on Monday, the 5.92 shekel market price for the shares was still 22 agorot higher than the 5.70 shekel minimum in the prospectus. Pluristem shares climbed roughly 40% over the past three months against the backdrop of a series of positive company announcements, including approval for accelerated development of a drug to treat radiation exposure. The shares of the company, which has a staff of 170 in Haifa, are dual-traded on the Nasdaq exchange. (Uri Tomer)  

Harel Insurance is partner in $460 million purchase of Los Angeles office building

Harel Insurance and Finance Group and the U.S. real estate investment trust Colony NorthStar have acquired an office building in downtown Los Angeles for $460 million. This reflects a price of $440 per square foot. Harel said on Monday it will hold 45% of the property. The total equity in the transaction will be $160 million, of which Harel’s share will be $74 million. The 42-story office building with 1.05 million square feet is almost 90% occupied. Most of the leases are linked to a 3% annual rent increase. This is Harel’s fourth real estate transaction on the U.S. West Coast in recent years. Harel said the transaction was part of a commitment to diversify its investments. Shares of Harel on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange closed off 2.85% at 23.82 shekels ($6.75) on Monday.

Leading indexes slip in TASE trading 

The benchmark TA- 35 index slipped 0.09% in trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Monday, closing at 1,441.49 points. The broader TA-125 index dropped further — by 0.17% — to 1,315.29 points. Trading volume for the day was 1.03 billion shekels ($292 million). Among the industry indexes, the Oil and Gas index was a standout on the plus side, gaining 2.33% and closing at 903.08 points. The only other industry index to show gains was the Banks 5 index, which closed at 1,832.27 points, an increase of 0.51%. Among the industry indexes that were in the red for the day was the Communications and Information Technology, which slumped 1.2% to 897.95 points. Bezeq shares lost 2.9% of their value, closing at 5.09 shekels. In the pharmaceutical industry, shares of BioCanCell Therapeutic jumped 5.19% to 1.29 shekels on the prospect that the company might be acquired and delisted. (Uri Tomer)