Teva Averts Strike at Key Plant, Resumes Negotiations Over Layoffs

Business in Brief | Kamada gets U.S. approval for rabies treatment ■ Shapir Engineering makes first foray into energy sector ■ Tel Aviv shares end lower in very thin trading

An employee collects pills from a machine at a Teva Pharmaceuticals production plant in Jerusalem, September 19, 2011.
Adam Reynolds/Bloomberg

Teva averts strike at key plant, resumes negotiations over layoffs

Workers at the Teva Pharmaceuticals plant that makes its best-selling Copaxone multiple sclerosis drug called off a strike on Sunday after management agreed to suspend dismissal letters to 150 employees. The company and union representatives agreed to resume negotiations over the planned layoffs, which are part of a wider cost-cutting drive Teva is undertaking as it struggle to repay debt. In earlier talks the company agreed to reduce the job cuts at the Kfar Sava plant by 25 to 150, or 10% of the payroll. Four days earlier, the union at the company’s Teva Tech plant in Neot Hovav reached an accord reducing the number of layoffs to 110 from 175, out of the factory’s 960 employees. The layoffs were delayed until November and the employees being dismissed will be entitled to an enlarged severance package and other benefits. Teva shares ended down 0.8% to 58.50 shekels ($16.33). (Yoram Gabison)

Kamada gets U.S. approval for rabies treatment

Shares of Kamada rallied on Sunday after the company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved a rabies treatment it has developed together with Kedrion Biopharma. The two companies’ Kedrab treatment was approved for use immediately after a person comes into contact with an animal suspected of carrying the rabies virus, administered jointly with a rabies vaccine. Kebrad will launch in the United States early next year, the companies said. Every year around 40,000 people in the United States receive treatment after contact with a possibly rabid animal, at an annual cost exceeding $100 million. Until now, U.S. doctors had only two human rabies immune globulin therapy options for use in preventing the disease, and the availability of the drugs has been “inconsistent” in recent years, the companies said. Kamada holds the license for Kedrab, and Kedrion has exclusive U.S. marketing rights for the product. Kamada shares ended up 5.5% at 16.48 shekels ($4.60). (Yoram Gabison)

Shapir Engineering makes first foray into energy sector

Shapir Engineering said on Sunday it was acting on plans to enter the energy industry. Under a memorandum of understanding, Shapir said it would pay $5.1 million for newly issued shares equal to 10% in the troubled oil and gas partnership Givot Olam and will have an option to buy an additional 15.1% between December 2017 and June 2018. But Shapir also retained an option to sell back the stake if it isn’t satisfied with the results of the due diligence it will conduct. “Givot Olam has proven oil reserves that have produced commercial qualities of oil, but its operations have been suspended for technical and legal reasons. Shapir will offer its management and engineering capabilities to try and restore the partnership’s operations,” said Amir Birman, Shafir’s chief financial officer. Givot Olam produced one million barrels of oil from its Meged 5 well near Rosh Hayin before the problems emerged. Shapir shares ended down 0.2% at 11.17 shekels ($3.12). (Uri Tomer)

Tel Aviv shares end lower in very thin trading

Tel Aviv shares finished Sunday lower in very thin trading. The blue chip TA-35 index ended the session down 0.3% at 1,392.01 points, while the TA-125 lost 0.2% to 1,261.67, as just 367 million shekels ($102 million) in shares changed hands. LivePerson led TA-125 stocks lower, shedding 4% to close at 45.05 shekels. TowerJazz lost 2.7% to 99.01, snapping a four-day stretch of gains. Bezeq group companies rose: Bezeq itself gained 1% to 5.42 and parent company Internet Gold rose 4.6% to 27.98. Among companies reporting quarterly earnings, Super-Sol rose 0.2% to 19.35 after reporting net profit of 68 million shekels, up from 62 million a year earlier. Castro climbed 2.9% to 122 on a 16% increase in net to 24.2 million shekels. Maytronics extended its gains on Sunday, adding 4.5% to its 14.5% rise on Thursday to close at 15.65 after it said last week that net jumped 25% to 46 million shekels. (Uri Tomer)