The Ticker/ Strauss, PepsiCo Joint Venture Recalls U.S. Hummus

Altschuler: Tel Aviv stocks trading cheaply, Strauss, Intec in talks with global pharma company on $150m pact.

Natan Dvir

Perrigo, Teva push stocks to record high

Tel Aviv shares powered higher to a record close yesterday after the U.S. drugmaker Mylan offered to buy Perrigo at a steep premium to its market price (see story on this page). Shares in Perrigo and Teva both led the market on usually active trading, lifting total daily volume for the market to nearly 1.3 billion shekels ($330 million). Coming back from a long Passover holiday weekend, the benchmark TA-25 index finished up 1.8% at 1,680.96 points, while the TA-100 added 2.2% to 1,475.80. The gains, however, were confined to the biomed and technology sectors, with finance, energy, telecoms and real estate shares down the session. Among the technology leaders, Perion Network jumped 7.6% to end at 15.25 shekels, Protalix rose 7.2% to 7.73 and LivePerson 3.2% to 40.45. Among the biggest decliners in the TA-100, Frutarom retreated 2.6% to 152.60 and Clal Insurance 2.6% to 62.50 shekels. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Altschuler: Tel Aviv stocks trading cheaply

Tel Aviv shares are trading at much cheaper valuations than most developed-world stock markets and have considerable upside potential, Gilad Altshuler, co-CEO and founder of the investment house Altshuler Shaham, told TheMarker in an interview. “There was a period when people were concerned about regulation and a lot of money went abroad, but those concerns have begun to recede. Money is moving back into Israel stocks and the discount [to other developed-country markets] is starting to narrow,” he said. Altschuler said he was most attracted to real estate, banking and insurance stocks. “The price of banking and insurance stocks are cheap on a historic scale,” he said, adding that even if insurers come under regulatory pressure, they will learn to cope with it, just as Israel’s cellphone operators did. Energy stocks, however, still face regulatory uncertainty over moves to break up the natural gas cartel. (Ami Ginsburg)

Strauss, PepsiCo joint venture recalls U.S. hummus

Sabra Dipping Company, the U.S. maker of hummus and other dips jointly owned by Israel’s Strauss Group and PepsiCo, said last week it was voluntarily recalling 30,000 cases of its Classic line of hummus products nationwide over possible Listeria contamination. The potential for contamination was discovered during a routine, random sample, which was collected at a retail location on March 30 by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, Sabra said. “To date, there have been no reports indicating that these products have caused any illness,” it added. Listeriosis, a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria, primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and those with compromised immune systems. It can lead to death. The recall followed warnings from U.S. health officials about products from a Blue Bell Creameries’ Oklahoma ice cream plant, which was closed for fear of Listeria contamination. Strauss shares ended down 3% at 62.13 shekels ($15.56). (TheMarker)

Intec in talks with global pharma company on $150m pact

Intec Pharma said yesterday it was in talks with an unidentified global pharmaceuticals company that wants to license its Accordion Pill technology used to help the body better absorb drugs aimed at the gastrointestinal tract. The prospective agreement would give Jerusalem-based Intec $1 million in up-front funding for research and development, and up to $150 million if the global company exercises an option in milestone payments for meeting R&D goals and regulatory approvals as well as licensing fees, Intec said. It estimated a final agreement would be signed in the next several weeks. Intec’s Accordion Pill is made from biodegradable polymeric films folded into an accordion shape and placed inside an ingestible capsule. Once swallowed, it stays in the stomach for up to 12 hours to allow controlled release of a drug. Intec shares ended up 3.9% at 34.02 shekels ($8.52). (Yoram Gabison)