Tel Aviv Shares Down Sharply as Teva Falls Off Cliff

Business in Brief | S&P raises Israel’s sovereign rating outlook to Positive ■ Noble expects to have customers for most Leviathan output by 2019 ■ Cellcom Israel boosts net while revenues fall

A bottle of Teva Clonazepam medication.
George Frey/Bloomberg

Tel Aviv shares down sharply as Teva falls off cliff

Teva Pharmaceuticals shares hammered the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, bringing other generic drug makers down with it. Mylan fell 9.2% to 115 shekels ($31.68) and Perrigo 2.6% to 244.60. That left the TA-35 index down 1.3% for the day at 1,399.42 points, while the TA-125 lost 1.05% to 1,264.19. Volume was unusually high for a Sunday at 1.59 billion shekels. Amid the pharma wreckage, however, some shares rallied. SodaStream soared 10.1% to close at 229.50 after Susquehanna analyst Pablo Zuanic and Aatish Shah upgraded the stock to Positive from Neutral after quarterly earnings last week and assigned it a Wall Street target price of $79. Nice Systems extended gains from its quarterly earnings to climb 2.4% to 282.20 while Frutarom added 3.2% to 254 after reporting it had boosted its stake in Enzymotec another 2.06%. Brenmiller Energy raised just 45 million shekels in its initial public offering, far less than the 60 million it planned. (Omri Zerachovitz)

S&P raises Israel’s sovereign rating outlook to Positive 

Citing strong economic growth and fiscal discipline, Standard & Poor’s on Friday raised the outlook on Israel’s sovereign debt to Positive from Stable while retaining its A-plus rating. The revised outlook could mean that the credit agency will raise the grade a notch in the next two years. In a report S&P lauded Israel’s government for measures that restrain future spending growth and enable it to resist ongoing spending pressures” even after recent tax cuts. “We could raise our ratings in the next 24 months if the government makes further progress in lowering the public debt burden as a percentage of GDP,” which is now at 62.1% , the agency said. That progress would be even more likely if Israel sees stronger economic growth, S&P said, noting the country’s “remarkable” economic performance since the 2008 global financial crisis. Israeli gross domestic product grew 4% last year and is expected to expand by 3.1% this year. (Zvi Zrahiya)

Noble expects to have customers for most Leviathan output by 2019

Noble Energy, the operating partner in Leviathan, said it expected the natural gas field to be in production by the end of 2019 by which time it will have customers for most of its Phase 1 output. “The team continues to progress on new contract discussions with customers in Israel, Jordan and Egypt. I’m confident that the gross 1.2 billion cubic feet per day of Leviathan Phase 1 capacity will be mostly filled by start-ups,” CEO David Stover told analysts on Thursday. “Leviathan is moving full speed ahead. We’re already about 15% complete on the project and remain on track for first production by the end of 2019,” he said. The company reported adjusted income for the second quarter of $24 million, or 5 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $1.06 billion. Taking into account the charges associated with the closing of the Marcellus Shale project, losses were $1.5 billion, or $3.20 a share. (Eran Azran) 

Cellcom Israel boosts net while revenues fall

Cellcom Israel, the country’s largest mobile operator, reported slightly higher second quarter earnings on Sunday, as lower expenses and taxes more than offset a drop in revenue stemming from fierce competition. Cellcom was slated to issue its results later this week but following a filing error to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it published the report on Saturday. The company said it earned 45 million shekels ($12 million) in the quarter, up from 44 million a year earlier while revenue slipped 6.5% to 962 million shekels. It had been forecast to earn 40 million shekels on revenue of 995 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Cellcom’s mobile subscriber base slipped 1.2% to 2.779 million in the first quarter. A network sharing deal with smaller rival Golan Telecom worth 2 billion shekels over 10 years also took effect in the period .The company said its board again decided not to declare a dividend. Cellcom shares ended up 4% at 34.65 shekels. (Reuters)