Israel Technology Stocks Log Best Year Since Dot-com Boom

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A large digital ticker shows financial information to pedestrians outside the entrance to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016
A large digital ticker shows financial information to pedestrians outside the entrance to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016Credit: Bloomberg

Tamar Petroleum to buy 7.5% stake in Tamar field from Noble

Tamar Petroleum, the company spun off from the Delek Group to buy rights to the Tamar gas field, is close to an agreement to buy a 7.5% stake in the field from Noble Energy, TheMarker has learned. The deal, which is expected to be formally announced in the next several days, is worth between $800 million and $900 million, sources said. Tamar Petroleum bought a 9.25% stake in the field from Delek last July, shortly after it was formed as a special purpose vehicle, and is expected to buy Delek’s remaining 22%. Unlike Delek, which is under government orders to divest its Tamar holding, Noble is only required to reduce its 36% to 25% by 2021. So far, it has sold 3.5% to institutional investors. The deal with Tamar Petroleum will be financed partly by issuing bonds and partly by allocating shares to Noble. Tamar shares ended 1.5% higher at 20.69 shekels ($5.98). (Eran Azran)

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange improves offer to buy shares from members

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange CEO Ittai Ben-Zeev has boosted his offer to buy the shares controlled by the bourse’s members by 25%, valuing the TASE at 500 million shekels ($144.4 million). The offer, which has a January 18 deadline, comes after the majority of members, mainly banks and financial institutions, rejected an offer valuing the bourse at 400 million. Under the terms of Ben-Zeev’s offer, the TASE would have to tell members how many shares it wants to buy within three months, but the bourse hasn’t lined up financing for a buyout. Its options are to borrow the funds, conduct an initial public offering or recruit an overseas stock exchange interested in buying the TASE and paying for the shares. Under a new law demutualizing the TASE, members have to reduce their stakes to no more than 5% within five years and can sell their shares at a valuation of no more than 500 million. (Shelly Appelberg)

Israel technology stocks log best year since dot-com boom

Israeli technology stocks had a banner year in 2017, with nine out of the 10 biggest showing double-digit gains and only one, CyberArk, showing an actual loss for the year – about 9%. At the top of the list for gainers in 2017 was SolarEdge, a maker of photovoltaic solar technology whose shares jumped 200% over the course of the year, although they are only up 80% since its March 2013 IPO. Other big gainers were TowerJazz, which added 79%, Camtek’s 76% gain and Mellanox, which added 58%. The investment house Oppenheimer termed 2017 the best year for Israeli stocks since the 1999 dot-com bubble, but noted a major difference: Most of Israel’s dot-com boom companies were losing money, or even bankrupt, but this time around, that is not the case. Oppenheimer’s five recommended stocks for 2018 are TowerJazz, SolarEdge, Mellanox, NICE Systems and Camtek. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Tel Aviv shares mark second day of gains for 2018

Tel Aviv shares solidified their New Year’s gain on Tuesday, posting a second day of rises, this time on much higher trading volume. The TA-35 and TA-125 indices both posted gains of close to 0.65% to end at 1,532.12 and 1.385,86 points, respectively, as some 1.81 billion shekels ($520 million) in shares changed hands. Biomed, oil and gas and real estate shares led the market higher. Among the bigger gainers, Rami Levy added 3.2% to 197.70 shekels a day after reaching a deal to buy a possible controlling stake in Cofix. Bezeq advanced 2.3% to 5.47 shekels amid speculation that Shaul Elovitch’s indebted Eurocom Group will close control of the company. Spacecom rose 2.2% to 19.27 shekels after reporting that Nepal’s Dish Media Network had contracted it for $16.7 million worth of extra capacity on its Amos 4 satellite. El Al Airlines topped TA-125 losers, sliding 2.8% to 1.54 shekels and resuming its decline after two days of strong gains. (Guy Erez)

Teva reaches layoff terms with Jerusalem plant’s union

After intensive negotiations, Teva Pharmaceutical’s labor union and the Histadrut labor federation reached an agreement on Tuesday over the terms that will dictate the closure of Teva’s Jerusalem tablets plant by the end of 2019. The agreement ended a labor dispute at the plant and means workers will return to their normal shifts. The agreement delays the timing of the layoffs so that the majority of workers won’t lose their jobs until December of next year. Among other things, the sides agreed that severance packages will be largely determined by an employee’s length of service and chance of finding a new job and those being let go will be entitled to counselling and job training. Itzik Ben-Simon, who chairs the plant’s workers committee, expressed hope that the delays may spare the facility from closure altogether. “The Teva tablets plant will continue to operate for at least two more years, and I’m confident it will operate even longer,” he said. The plan is slated to be shut as part of a massive cost-cutting plan Teva announced last month. (Taly Heruti-Sover)

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