Business in Brief: Tel Aviv Shares End Mixed in Heavy Trading

Partner posts loss in fourth quarter and year on declining revenues; El Al to be majority shareholder in Israir-Sun d’Or merger.

Stock prices flash on an electronic screen displaying world clocks at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.
Bloomberg

Partner posts loss in fourth quarter and year on declining revenues

Partner Communications, Israel’s second-largest mobile phone operator, swung to a loss in the fourth quarter on declining revenues and intense competition, and a one-time impairment charge. Partner said Monday it lost 65 million shekels ($16.8 million) in the last three months of 2015, compared with a 24-million-shekel profit a year earlier. Excluding the impairment charge related to its fixed-lined operations, Partner had a net profit of 7 million shekels. Analysts on average forecast a net profit of 2.75 million shekels, on revenue of 1 billion shekels. Partner said its revenues slipped 9% to 1 billion shekels, while its subscriber base fell 4% to 2.72 million shekels. For the year, Partner lost 40 million shekels, turning around from a 160-million-shekel profit in 2014. “We hope the regulatory uncertainty in the cellular market will end in the near future and enable rational and proportionate competition,” said CEO Isaac Benbenisti. Partner shares finished down 2.2% at 16.20 shekels. (TheMarker Staff)

El Al to be majority shareholder  in Israir-Sun d’Or merger

IDB Development Corporation said Monday that if a planned merger between its Israir unit and El Al’s Sun d’Or unit goes through, El Al will become the majority shareholder in the newly merged company. The two sides are negotiating a tie-up for Sun d’Or, El Al’s charter subsidiary, which would be merged into Israir, in exchange for which El Al would get Israir stock. IDB, a holding group controlled by Eduardo Elsztain, said the deal is still subject to due diligence before a final version of its terms are reached, but it expected to retain just a 25-30% stake in the merged company, with El Al holding the rest. The reason why El Al will get such a big share, IDB said, is because Israir is planning to sell and lease back some or all of its fleet of two Airbus A320 and two ATR72 aircraft in a deal that would earn it $70 million to $85 million immediately, while Sun d’Or would be bringing its two Boeing 737-800s into the merger. IDB shares ended up 0.25% at 2 shekels (51 cents), while El Al shares were up 1% at 2.93 shekels. (Yoram Gabison)

Tel Aviv shares end mixed in heavy trading

Tel Aviv shares ended mixed in heavy trading Monday as the day’s early gains lost steam. The benchmark TA-25 index ended at 1,487.74 points, virtually unchanged for the day, while the TA-100 edged down 0.06% to 1,277.82. Volume was nearly double its recent average at 2.675 billion shekels ($689.8 million) as a rejiggering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s indices forced many investors to reweigh their portfolios. Among the most heavily traded stocks was Ituran, which is being dropped from the TA-100 before being delisted; it rose 2.2% to 70.45 shekels. Other big gainers were Mannkind, which surged 8% to 5.57 shekels ahead of its fourth-quarter earnings release. Its shares have clawed back the 50% drop they suffered after Sanofi dropped its distribution contract with Mannkind in January. Bonds of Urbancorp skidded 1.6% to raise their yield to near-junk levels of 10.5% after Midroog put the Canadian property developer on Credit Review with a Negative outlook. (Ruti Levy)