Trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange was essentially stable Wednesday on turnover of NIS 828 million. The benchmark Tel Aviv-25 index declined marginally-by 0.06% to 1,240.06 points while the Tel Aviv-100 was off by a minuscule 0.01% to 1,103.43. The Banks-5 index slipped by 0.8%, while the Real Estate-15 was off marginally, by less than 0.1%.
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Orckit Communication's stock skyrocketed yesterday by almost 39% on news that it was selling its entire patent portfolio for $5 million.
Among other shares at the center of traders' attention was Israel Chemicals Ltd., which declined by 0.2% on the day in the wake of the release of its latest financial reports. ICL's net profit in the fourth quarter fell to $209.5 million from $369.6 million a year earlier. Revenue declined to $1.34 billion from $1.71 billion reflecting lower sales, especially to India and China and lower average prices.
ICL was forecast to earn $224 million in the quarter on revenue of $1.44 billion, according to a Reuters poll. "The quarter is basically meaningless regarding the share price, considering the saga of a potential merger with Potash and the positive change in trend following the contracts signed in the East," Clal Finance analyst Jonathan Kreizman said, referring to efforts by the Canadian firm, Potash Corp., to take over Israel Chemical. ICL declared a dividend of 11.6 cents a share or a total of $147 million for the quarter.
Amid the continuing uncertainty at Nochi Dankner's IDB Holding, which is seeking to finalize a debt rescheduling agreement with its bondholders, the company's bonds declined in morning trading by up to 4%. Series B12 bonds from Habas Investments, the real estate development company, declined by 7.3% on the day.
The controlling shareholders of Medipower (Overseas), a real estate company, continue to sink cash into the company to enable the outfit to meet its obligations to bondholders. Yesterday the company announced that controlling shareholders Yair Goldfinger and Sefi Vigiser, who were among the founders of the Mirabilis high-tech company, would provide a NIS 37 million loan to Medipower at the high interest rate of 10% per year. The interest rate was set based on an evaluation of accountants BDO Ziv Haft.
After successful mergers and a share price that has risen in value by 35% since the beginning of the year, shareholders of the software firm Sapiens, which is traded in Tel Aviv and on the Nasdaq at a market cap of NIS 750 million, are looking for additional capital. The company submitted a prospectus Tuesday for up to $40 million on the Nasdaq exchange.
A week after Bank Leumi liquidated its holdings in Africa Israel Properties for NIS 25 million, the Africa Israel group subsidiary reported a net loss for all of 2012 of NIS 27.1 million on Tuesday, compared to a much smaller NIS 2.4 million loss the year before. Share prices of Africa Israel Properties declined by 3.7% on Wednesday.
The U. Dori Group construction firm, which is controlled by Gazit Globe and businessman Ronen Ashkenazi, released its latest financial results Wednesday for the fourth quarter of 2012 and for the year as a whole. The report reflected improvements for the quarter and the year, but the company did not manage to boost its backorders, which remained at NIS 2.7 billion.
For the year, the company had revenues of NIS 1.6 billion, 17% higher than the prior year. Net profits attributed to shareholders for 2012 came in at NIS 32.3 million, up 8% over 2011. The firm's shares rose by 1.5% on Wednesday.
(With reporting from Reuters.)