Austrian Investor Martin Schlaff Behind $5 Million Investment in Israeli Biotechnology Company

Meitav Dash to buy brokerage business of Bank of Jerusalem for NIS 21 million ■ Insurance stocks buck trend in down market

Reuters

Meitav Dash to buy brokerage business of Bank of Jerusalem for NIS 21 million

Meitav Dash Investment House is expected to buy the brokerage operations of Bank of Jerusalem for 21 million shekels ($6 million), TheMarker has learned. Meitav Dash beat out a bid by Magna after agreeing to buy the entire brokerage operations, although in practice it was only interested in the institutional brokerage services end of the business and will shut down the foreign-bond side of the business. Magna only offered to buy the institutional side, sources in the capital market said. They said Bank of Jerusalem altogether will earn about 100 million shekels from the brokerage business, which it acquired from Clal Finance four years ago. Apart from the sale proceeds, the bank retains a 5.1% stake in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that are worth about 24 million now that the bourse has been a limited-liability company and has tax credits from the brokerage’s accumulated loss worth 57 million. The sale to Meitav Dash still requires board approval. (Asa Sasson)

Austrian investor Martin Schlaff is behind $5 million investment in Collplant

Martin Schlaff, an Austrian business magnate and once a controversial figure in Israeli politics, is the investor who agreed to put $5 million into the publicly traded biotechnology company Collplant last month. Collplant, which is developing tissue-repair products based on plant-based recombinant human collagen technology, had declined to name the investor in its original September 11 announcement but earlier this week confirmed it was Alpha Capital Anstalt, which is controlled by Schlaff. Schlaff’s interests reportedly include stakes in companies associated with Russia’s Gazprom and he once owned the casino in Jericho that closed during the second intifada. He has also been linked with corruption investigations in Israel, including allegations he improperly contributed to Ariel Sharon’s election campaign in the early 2000s. The case was closed four years ago for lack of evidence. Filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission show Alpha Capital has holdings in about 25 companies, mostly in biotech and healthcare.  Collplant shares, which rose sharply after the investment was first reported, ended down 3.1% at 59 agorot on Tuesday. (Yoram Gabison)

Insurance stocks buck trend in down market

Tel Aviv shares ended lower on Tuesday before going into a long holiday weekend, but insurance shares rallied. The TA-35 and TA-125 indices both lost about 0.3% to end at 1,441.19 and 1,312.07 points, respectively, on light turnover of 609 million shekels ($174 million) due to the shortened holiday-week trading day. Among the biggest losers on the TA-125, El Al Airlines shed 3.1% to 2.21 shekels, Opko Health lost 3% to close at 23.80 and Nova dropped 2.6% to 99.80. Teva Pharmaceuticals continued lower after its big drop on Sunday, sliding another 1.5% to 55.7, while Frutarom lost 1.5% to 271.80. Insurance stocks were the exception to a generally lower session: Harel advanced 2.9% to 23.35, Phoenix 2.8% to 17.66 and Migdal 2.1% to 3.92. Ceragon, which said last month it was delisting from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, rose 1.5% to 7.28 after reporting a $5 million contract win from an unnamed Southeast Asian customer. (Guy Erez)