PepsiCo-SodaStream Deal Carries Tel Aviv Stocks Sharply Higher

Business in Brief | Unitronics weighing plan to spin off automated-parking-garage business ■ Rami Levy to launch online shopping site in November ■ Private equity fund Fortissimo to take stake in desalination business in deal with Delek

Boxes containing SodaStream products are seen at a shop in London, August 20, 2016.
\ SIMON DAWSON/ REUTERS

Unitronics weighing plan to spin off automated-parking-garage business 

Unitronics, the maker of industrial controls, said on Monday it was weighing a plan to split the company in two by spinning off its new and rapidly growing automated-parking-garage business into a separate publicly traded company. The new company, to be called Utron, would be divested by paying existing Unitronics shareholders a stock dividend in the form of Utron stock. The company said it believed the two companies would trade at higher valuations as separate businesses because Unitronics industrial-controls business is highly profitable but stable and would appeal to investors interested in regular dividends, while Utron’s business is growing rapidly. It will also improve Utron’s exposure to U.S. investors and improve the prospects of it eventually being sold because the United States is the company’s main market. Shares of Unitronics, which are 49.99% owned by the FIMI private equity funds and 21.9% by CEO Haim Shani, finished up 12.7% at 23.90 shekels ($6.53). (Yoram Gabison)

Rami Levy to launch online shopping site in November

Discount supermarket chain Rami Levy plans to launch a website in November to sell apparel, furniture, premium liquor and other products, TheMarker has learned. Rami Levy Plus will promise shoppers average delivery times of three business days and hopes to turn it into a platform for smaller businesses in the same way eBay and Amazon have. The company has taken 12,000 square meters of warehouse space in Modi’in for operations and is negotiating contracts with two delivery companies. The November launch is designed to come at the same time a similar venture by Super-Sol, Israel’s largest supermarket chain, is due to begin operations. Its site, to be called American Outlet, aims to provide Israeli shoppers with products that aren’t sold elsewhere in Israel but won’t operate warehouse facilities in Israel. Israeli retailers are beefing up their online operations in anticipation of Amazon’s launch of Israeli operations soon. Rami Levy shares finished up 0.5% at 182.70 shekels ($49.89). (Hadar Kane)

Private equity fund Fortissimo to take stake in desalination business in deal with Delek

Private equity fund Fortissimo Capital moved on Monday to gain a stake in IDE Holdings, the closely held maker and operator of desalination plants. Yitzhak’s Tshuva’s energy conglomerate Delek Group said it agreed to sell a 60% stake in Delek Infrastructures, which owns half of IDE, in a deal that values Delek Infrastructures at $206 million. The non-binding memorandum would leave Delek Group with a minority 40% stake. Fortissimo will pay $40 million in cash at the deal’s closing, while the rest will be structured as a loan from Delek to Fortissimo. The firms said they would work to raise debt of up to $100 million for Delek Infrastructures whose value will be discounted from the final sale price. IDE, whose other 50% is controlled by an investor group, owns all or part of three desalination plants in Israel and one in California. Fortissimo declined to comment on the deal. Delek Group shares finished 0.7% higher at 528.90 shekels ($144.44).  (Yoram Gabison)

High Court rejects interim injunction barring Leviathan ads

Noble Energy, the operating partner in the Leviathan gas field, will be able to continue broadcasting ads lauding the field after the High Court of Justice rejected a suit seeking to suspend the ads. The petition seeking an interim injunction was brought by an organization called Homeland Guards fighting plans by Noble and its Leviathan partners to construct a gas platform close to Dor Beach out of concern for public health and the environment. Homeland Guard had asked the Second Television and Radio Authority to ban the ads, which first began appearing several weeks ago, as being in violation of the law barring ad campaigns on Israeli television dealing with current public controversies. The authority had rejected the request on the grounds that the ads don’t directly address the controversy, although they do hint at environmental issues. The lawsuit will resume in two weeks. (Nati Tucker)

SodaStream news carries Tel Aviv stocks sharply higher

The good cheer surrounding PepsiCo’s announcement it was buying Israel’s SodaStream sent Tel Aviv share prices sharply higher on Monday. The TA-35 and TA-125 indices both finished about 1.2% up at 1,613.24 and 1,445.12 points, respectively, as 1.08 billion shekels ($290 million) in shares changed hands. SodaStream rose 8.7% to 521.50 shekels after trading was suspended following the announcement. Teva Pharmaceuticals extended its hot streak, climbing 4.5% to 92.12 and bringing its gain over the last three trading session to 14% on news that Warren Buffet had increased his holding and that the company got approval to sell a generic version of EpiPen. Telecoms shares were higher, too, led by a 6.4% jump for Partner Communications to 15.79. B Communications added 5.85% to 25.68 and Cellcom Israel 3.25% to 21.89. Volume leader Bank Leumi rose 1.4% to 23.90. On the losing side, Mazor Robotics, fell 2.45% to 79.12 and Migdal Insurance shed 1.1% to 3.74. (Jasmin Gueta)