Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Closes With Fourth Consecutive Gain

Business in Brief | Wobi CEO inexplicably axed by parent company White Mountains Insurance ■ Frutarom acquires Thai flavors company ■ Protalix shares skyrocket after inking of deal with Italian pharmaceutical giant

A large digital ticker shows financial information to pedestrians outside the entrance to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016.
Rina Castelnuovo, Bloomberg

Wobi CEO inexplicably axed by parent company White Mountains Insurance

White Mountains Insurance Group announced it has fired Wobi founder and CEO Sharon Giler. Eran Oren, the deputy CEO of the Israeli insurance price comparison platform, was named to replace Giler. Wobi announced that Oren, 46, had recently arrived from Excellence, where he served as CEO of its portfolio management company, among other positions. White Mountains (NYSE:WTM) and Wobi, which is fully owned by the former, refused to explain the reason for Giler’s departure beyond what it stated in a press release. Giler, who is in London, was unavailable for comment. Wobi was founded seven years ago by insurance and internet entrepreneurs trying to drive a consumer revolution in the insurance industry. The site offers an online service for comparing and purchasing insurance and financial products in partnership with leading Israeli insurance firms. (Shelly Appelberg)

Frutarom acquires Thai flavors company

Israeli flavors and fine ingredients maker Frutarom said on Wednesday it had agreed to buy 60 percent of Thai flavours firm The Mighty for 393 million baht ($12 million). According to the company’s report to the Israeli Securities Authority, Frutarom (TASE:FRUT) will initially acquire 49 percent of Mighty. Subject to a number of conditions and regulatory approvals in Thailand, it will raise its holdings to 60 percent. Mighty’s sales in the 12 months ending this past August totaled about $15 million after the company registered average annual growth of 12% over the past four years. “The purchase of Mighty is Frutarom’s eighth acquisition this year. The acquisition of Mighty is part of the fulfillment of Frutarom’s strategy to significantly expand its activity in Asia – based both on rapid organic growth and an interesting acquisition pipeline – including in additional key regional countries,” the company stated in its filing. Frutarom shares rose 2% on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Protalix shares skyrocket after inking of deal with Italian pharmaceutical giant

Protalix BioTherapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of recombinant therapeutic proteins expressed through its proprietary plant cell-based expression system, announced an ex-U.S. license and collaboration agreement with Chiesi Farmaceutici on Wednesday. Through the deal, the firms will develop and market a protein called PRX-102 to treat Fabry disease. “PRX-102 has demonstrated a significantly enhanced circulatory half-life and higher enzyme activity in the target organs affected by Fabry disease when compared to currently available versions of the molecule, and strong positive safety and efficacy data from its completed phase I/II clinical trial,” the company announced. “The $50 million commitment made by Chiesi before any of our ongoing phase III clinical trial results read-out ... represents Chiesi’s commitment to the Fabry market in general and our PRX-102 program in particular,” said Moshe Manor, Protalix’s president and CEO. Protalix shares skyrocketed 37.1% on the TASE on Wednesday. (TheMarker Staff)

TASE closes with fourth consecutive gain

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange closed up for the fourth consecutive session on Wednesday, encouraged by positive trends in Europe and New York. The TA-35 rose 0.26% to 1447.39 and the TA-125 gained 0.42% to 1,321.85. While the Biomed index climbed 1.51% to 435.35, the Communications and Information Technology index did nearly as well, adding 1.36% to close at 903.59. The most traded stock was Bezeq, jumping 4% on turnover of 65 million shekels. Barclay’s set a target price 40% above its Tuesday closing price. Bezeq also benefitted from investors’ vote of confidence in the group’s Internet Gold, which swapped 181 million shekels in bonds (see adjacent story). El Al ended a losing streak with a modest gain of 0.4%, while Supersol shares climbed 1.5% and Ormat shares gained 2.4%. Most of the bank shares rose, paced by Discount’s 1% jump, although Leumi lost 0.3%. (Shelly Appelberg)