Teva Files to Raise $5 Billion in Debt Issue

Business in Brief | Bezeq to shuffle board; Noble to cut stake in Tamar gas field; Dorit Wertheim sells Aloni Hetz stake to brother; Biomed and insurance stocks fall

A Jerusalem building belonging to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, December 14, 2017.
Ammar Awad / Reuters

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said Tuesday it plans to raise $5 billion of debt securities as it pushes ahead with a global overhaul aimed at cutting costs and managing its massive debt burden. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Teva didn’t say where the proceeds would go, but it appears they will be used to replace existing bank debt with long-term bond debt. Teva, the world’s biggest generic drug maker, announced in late 2017 a restructuring that would combine its generic and specialty medicine businesses. It’s also cutting more than a quarter of its workforce and closing many of its factories as it copes with a $34.7 billion debt load it took on buying Actavis Generics in 2016. Bloomberg News reported that Teva was also seeking to renegotiate its debt covenants with its bank creditors, who are owed $6 billion. Teva shares finished 4.9% lower at 69.70 shekels ($20.38). (Yoram Gabison)

Bezeq chairman tells activist investor Elliott he plans changes to the board
Acting Bezeq Chairman David Granot said Tuesday he aims to replace at least part of the board in line with a call by the U.S. activist investor Elliott Management for change at Israel’s biggest telecom company. “I have heard loud and clear the issues and concerns you raised regarding this matter, both in your letter and at our meeting last week. I intend to take these issues into serious consideration when we propose a slate of candidates for election at the next annual meeting,” Granot wrote to Paul Best, head of European private equity at Elliott. He was replying to a January 16 letter in which Elliott announced it had a 4.8% stake in Bezeq and called for a restructuring of the group that controls Bezeq and for a boardroom shake-up. Granot said he had no control over the companies controlling Bezeq, which belong to the embattled telecom entrepreneur Shaul Elovitch. (Amitai Ziv)

Noble to sell 7.5% stake in Tamar field to Israel’s Tamar Petroleum
Noble Energy will sell a 7.5% stake in the Tamar natural gas field off Israel to Tamar Petroleum for about $800 million in cash and shares, the U.S. oil and gas producer said Monday. Noble will receive $560 million in cash and 38.5 million shares of Tamar Petroleum. The deal allows Noble to cut its holdings in Israel’s only commercial gas field to 25% from 32.5%, complying with government plans to open the market to competition. The assets being sold produced about 62 million cubic feet equivalent per day of natural gas in 2017, Houston-based Noble said. The deal follows a sale by Noble of 3.5% of Tamar in mid-2016. Combined proceeds from both deals amount to nearly $1.25 billion, of which almost $1 billion will be in cash, Noble said. Tamar Petroleum shares ended 1.8% lower at 20.24 shekels ($5.92). Noble shares were down 4.9% at $30.57 in New York late morning local time. (Reuters)

Dorit Wertheim sells Aloni Hetz stake to brother in $161 million deal
Dorit Wertheimer sold her stake in the giant real estate company Aloni Hetz to her brother Dudi as the two sibling divide up the estate of their father Muzi Wertheim, the family said Tuesday. In a deal worth 550 million shekels ($161 million), Dorit Wertheim sold her 31% stake in the closely held company Wertheim Holdings that controls the family’s Aloni Hetz shares, leaving her brother with 100% of the company that in turn has a 19.3% stake in Aloni Hetz. The deal still leaves the two in control of the family’s two other big assets – Central Bottling Company, the Israeli Coca-Cola bottler, and Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank. Since the Business Concentration Law will soon bar the family from controlling both a big financial and nonfinancial company, Dorit Wertheim is expected to assume full control of Mizrahi while Dudi keeps Central Bottling and Aloni Hetz. Aloni Hetz shares finished 0.8% higher at 36.05 shekels. (Eran Azran)

Biomed, insurance sectors lead Tel Aviv shares to a loss
Biomed and insurance stock weighed down a broadly lower Tel Aviv market Tuesday. The TA-35 and TA-125 indexes both ended about 0.7% lower at 15,38.88 and 1,400.98 points, respectively, on turnover of 1.55 billion shekels ($450 million). Among biomed shares, Opko Health dropped 4.2% to 15.72 shekels and Mazor Robotics shed 1.1% to 106.80. Phoenix led insurance shares lower, falling 2.2% to 21.50. The U.S. drug maker Mylan and Perrigo also dropped sharply – by 4.5% to 150.60 and 3.6% to 309.40, respectively. Among gainers in the TA-125, volume leader Frutarom added 2.4% to 351.10 and Elbit Systems 3.1% to 510.10. The Israel Corporation eased 0.1% to end at 664.30. On Monday, the company said it hoped to resume paying dividends after receiving bondholder approval. Collpant advanced 0.7% to 57 agorot after it said the Nasdaq approved it for listing. Isramco added 0.9% to 43 agorot after Leumi Capital Markets tagged its shares Market Outperform. (Eran Azran)