Business in Brief: Jordan Deal Sealed, Ratio to Issue Debt to Help Fund Leviathan Development

Fishman gets another 60 days to reach debt settlement with creditors; Plus500’s Israeli founders sell stock at steep discount; Wall Street pressures Tel Aviv shares lower ahead of holiday.

Off Haifa coast, oil rig at enormous Leviathan natural gas field.
Albatross

Jordan deal sealed, Ratio to issue debt to help fund Leviathan development

Just days after the Leviathan partners signed a key contract to sell natural gas to Jordan’s electric power company, one of the field’s partners is getting ready to tap the debt market. Ratio, which holds 15% of the field, said Thursday it would sell some 200 million shekels ($53.3 million) in bonds, with market sources saying the company was anxious to take advantage of low interest rates to raise the money now. The Series Beit bonds will be redeemed between 2021 and 2023 — an average term of 5.49 years — and will be backed to royalties from Leviathan. For comparison’s sake, Ratio’s Series Aleph bonds, with average terms of three years, trade at a yield of 5.1%. The cost of developing Leviathan’s 500 billion cubic meters of gas and 39.4 million barrels of condensate will cost its partners a combined $5 billion. While the final decision on developing the field hasn’t been made yet, the Jordan contract brings the field closer to commercial feasibility. (Eran Azran)

Fishman gets another 60 days to reach debt settlement with creditors

Tel Aviv District Court Judge Eitan Orenstein on Thursday gave embattled tycoon Eliezer Fishman 60 more days to reach an agreement with his creditors and said in the meantime he would refrain from issuing a receivership order or appointing a special administrator. Fishman’s four bank creditors, including Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi, agreed to the delay, which was negotiated with Fishman and his daughter Anat, while the Israel Tax Authority opposed it. But Orenstein said he saw no reason to freeze any court action before the December 12 deadline he set. “I share the concerns expressed by the Tax Authority and about the requirements for an examination of the debtor, his assets, etc. as part of the insolvency process. Nevertheless, balancing everything, it seems to me that a short delay won’t worsen the situation of the creditors or harm them.” Fishman owes as much as 3.9 billion shekels ($1.04 billion) and has assets estimated at between 50 million and 70 million shekels. (Efrat Neuman)

Plus500’s Israeli founders sell stock at steep discount

The founders of the retail currency trading firm Plus500 sold a combined 15.5 million ordinary shares Thursday at a price of 650 pence ($8.45) a share, or a total of 100.75 million pounds. The Israel-based company said the sale, via an accelerated bookbuilding procedure, represented about 13% of its shares and that it would not receive any proceeds. The sale was announced as Plus500, recovering from a U.K. Financial Conduct Authority reprimand for how it recruited customers, was near its record high. However, accelerated bookbuilds, in which investment banks sell shares quickly in one or two days, are typically run at a steep discount to a company’s stock price. Among the sellers, Alan Gonen sold 7.2 million shares and retained a 10.4% holding, while Gal Haber sold 2.6 million to leave him with 3.7%. Plus500 shares ended down 13.9% at 646 pence in London. (TheMarker Staff)

Wall Street pressures Tel Aviv shares lower ahead of holiday

Tel Aviv shares finished lower Thursday before heading into a long Rosh Hashanah holiday weekend, pressured by a weak opening on Wall Street. The blue chip TA-25 index lost 0.55% to end at 1,442.93 points, while the TA-100 ended down 0.7% to 1,261.79. Turnover was a heavy 1.94 billion shekels ($520 million) due to the expiry of the September options contracts at 1,451.25 for the TA-25 and 1,269.62 for the TA-100. Mylan tumbled 4.55% to 146.90 shekels and Teva Pharmaceuticals 2.5% to 179.90. Kardan Israel finished up 2.2% at 4.70 after it said it had finally signed an agreement to sell its UMI auto-importing unit for 397 million shekels. Spacecom jumped 9.2% to 26.94 shekels, although the operator of the Amos satellites didn’t report any news. Intec Pharma advanced 4.3% to 21.87 shekels after the equity research firm Edison said the biotech company could double its market cap to as much as 582 million shekels. (Shelly Appelberg)