Spacecom Cancels Amos 8 Satellite Contract With U.S. Companies

Business in Brief: Taavura Holdings, Israel’s largest trucking company, explores initial public offering ■ Power struggle at property company ADO ends in agreement ■ Tel Aviv shares end lower in abbreviated holiday trading session

Spacecom CEO David Pollack.
Spacecom

Spacecom cancels Amos 8 satellite contract with U.S. companies

Spacecom, the Israeli satellite operator, said Tuesday it had canceled an agreement with Space Systems/Loral of the U.S. to build its Amos-8 advanced communications satellite as well as a launch contract with Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Spacecom didn’t say who would now get the Amos 8 contract but said it was examining options that include a partnership with the Israeli government. Spacecom had signed a $112 million deal in March with SSL, but the deadline to pay a deposit passed Monday, nullifying the agreement. Spacecom has been under pressure from politicians and labor unions to award the contract to state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, which had bid to build Amos 8 but at a much higher cost of $200 million and a longer delivery time than SSL promised. Three weeks ago, the cabinet agreed to subsidize Amos 8 to the tune of $90 million, but a source involved in the project said a deal with IAI was still not final. Spacecom shares ended 2.7% higher at 13.76 shekels ($3.84). (TheMarker)

Taavura Holdings, Israel’s largest trucking company, explores initial public offering 

The board of Taavura Holdings, Israel’s largest trucking and logistics company, is exploring an initial public offering. The board acted at the behest of Clal Industries, which controls Taavura on a 50-50 basis with the company’s founding Livnat family and has been seeking to sell all or part of the stake. Sources said Clal, which is controlled by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, may have pushed the IPO option as a way to coax the Livats family into buying it out. In recent months, Clal has sought to sell between 20% and 40% of Taavura at a 2 billion shekel ($560 million) valuation at various times to the Livnats, a group of Israeli insurance companies or Leumi Partners and a group of institutional investors but failed to reach a deal. Before that Clal had pressed Taavura to increase its dividends payout, which the LIvnats opposed out of concern it would leave the company overly leveraged. (Yoram Gabison)

Power struggle at property company ADO ends in agreement

A struggle for control of ADO Group, a Tel Aviv Stock Exchange company whose sole asset is the German real estate company ADO Properties, ended with an agreement Tuesday on appointing directors and selling stock. Housing & Construction Limited and Moshe Dayan agreed not to oppose each other’s slate of candidates for six board seats due to be voted on at the next general shareholders meeting. The two, which hold 37.5% and 19.7% of ADO Group, respectively, also agreed with a third shareholders — the Apollo Fund, with a 14.7% stake — to give each other right of first refusal in the event any of them sells ADO Group stock. The agreement replaces one reached  in September 2017 after a bitter power struggle that was disallowed by securities regulators in Luxembourg, where ADO Properties is domiciled, unless the three had agreed to make a general offer for all ADO Properties shares. ADO Group shares fell 3% to 78 shekels ($21.75). (Yoram Gabison)

Tel Aviv shares end lower in abbreviated holiday trading session

Tel Aviv shares ended lower in light trading Tuesday in an abbreviated Sukkot festival session. The benchmark TA-35 index finished down 0.25% at 1,666.16 points, while the TAS-125 edged 0.08% lower, to 1,503.85 as 994 million shekels ($277 million) in shares changed hands. Teva Pharmaceuticals dropped 2.8% to 86 shekels after the European Medicines Agency on Friday recommended the approval of U.S. pharmaceutical group Eli Lilly’s migraine treatment, bringing the drug one step closer to competing with Teva’s own newly approved drug. Opko Health tumbled 5.5% to 15.10, reversing three sessions of sharp gains. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said September 7 it would be filing charges against Opko founder and CEO Phillip Frost and the company. Ormat Technologies slumped 2.1% to 198.60. Pluristem gained 4.5% to 4.93 after the drug developer announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had granted orphan drug status to the company’s PLX cell therapy for the treatment of graft failure. (TheMarker)