Roundup / After the Holidays, Do Dismissals Loom?

Bezeq distributing billion-shekel dividend in October while Israel Chemicals lays claim to a bigger piece of the Eilat port.

Firing after the holidays, urban myth or fact to fear? The investment house Meitav wondered the same thing. Year in and year out, writes Meitav chief economist Ron Eichel, the headlines threaten that dismissals loom "after the holidays." But do they? Do they really? They do not, Meitav concluded after studying unemployment data by the quarter going back 10 years. The data show that from 2001 to 2011, unemployment consistently dropped in the first, second and fourth quarters, and spiked in the third. That pattern was repeated in each of the years Meitav studied. Its conclusion: Dismissals after the holidays are an urban myth, and if anything, companies hire after the holidays.

Bezeq to distribute huge dividend in October: The Bezeq phone company will be distributing a gargantuan NIS 1.5 billion dividend on October 10, which works out to 183 agorot per share. The dividend will come from its profit available for distribution, which came to nearly a billion shekels at the second quarter's end, plus NIS 500 million in shareholder equity. In other words, Bezeq will be dipping into its equity to give to shareholders, mainly its controlling shareholder B Communications. That company will get NIS 464 million. The court gave its blessing to Bezeq to pay dividends from equity back in 2011. For the second quarter of 2012 Bezeq had reported a 20% drop in operating profit against the corresponding quarter the year before to NIS 746 million, and a 30% drop in net profit to NIS 415 million.

International bodies want piece of Leviathan: Leviathan partners report big client: the Leviathan gas exploration partners, Noble Energy and three Delek Group firms, reported Sunday morning that international bodies want to buy up to 30% of the rights to the deep-water field. The partners didn't say who these international bodies are, but the industry whisper is of Russia's Gazprom and France's Total.

Migdal buying new owner's private business: Having consummated his acquisition of the conflict of interest in insurance giant Migdal last week, businessman Shlomo Eliahu is preparing for Migdal to buy his private insurance business. Industry sources think Eliahu will be demanding about 1 billion shekels, though the price will depend on a third-party appraisal. Whether he'll get cash or more Migdal shares remains to be seen.

Israel increases priority docking in Eilat: Israel Chemicals' ships will get priority docking rights at Eilat Port for 18 days each month, which is 216 days a year, the company and the port corporation agreed last week. They also agreed on the prices that ICL, a member of Israel Corporation group, will pay for the privilege. Originally ICL was to get priority during 190 days of the year, 16 a month. Oddly, even though the issue of ICL's privileged docking is controversial, the Eilat Port board of directors was fast-tracking the agreement until the attorney general stepped in, and demanded that privileged rights be issued by a tender process. A tender was duly issued but only ICL bid. ICL asked for 264 days, 24 a month, but as that would have all but paralyzed container shipping through Eilat, the port haggled the number down to 18.