Teva’s Stock Falls as Search Panel Reportedly Recommends non-Israeli CEO

Business in Brief | Bezeq’s profits up over 20% as tax bill drops; Winter sales and financing costs retailer Fox $5-million loss; TASE closes lower, dragged down by insurance and communications stocks

An employee of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries at a Jerusalem plant.
Ronen Zvulun/REUTERS

Bezeq’s profits up over 20% as tax bill drops 

Bezeq reported a 21.5% rise in quarterly profits, boosted by lower tax expenses as a drop in revenue from phone services was offset by higher Internet revenue. Israel’s largest telecom group said on Thursday that it earned 350 million shekels ($97 million) in the first quarter, up from 288 million shekels a year earlier. Revenue slipped 4.1% to 2.45 billion shekels, due to a drop of 6% in revenue generated by its telephone service business while high-speed internet revenue grew 3.8%. Bezeq’s tax obligations slid 38.3% to 113 million shekels. The company, which is facing regulatory uncertainty over its ability to merge its units, reiterated its 2017 net profit estimate of 1.4 billion shekels, compared with 1.24 billion in 2016. Its Pelephone unit, which faces stiff competition, saw a 23.1% increase in net profits to 16 million shekels, as its subscriber base rose to 2.43 million from 2.40 million at the end of 2016. Bezeq shares closed down 0.65% to 6.11 shekels on Thursday. (Reuters)

Teva’s stock falls 4% as search panel reportedly recommends non-Israeli CEO

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ search for a new chief executive has resulted in the selection of a foreigner as the leading candidate, Israeli financial news website Calcalist said on Thursday. Separately, three candidates are vying for the position of chief financial officer (CFO) at Israel’s biggest company. The company’s Tel Aviv-listed shares closed down 4.3% at 107.30 shekels ($29.72) on Thursday. Israeli members of the board of directors are demanding that an Israeli be appointed CFO if the CEO is a foreigner, Calcalist said. Teva was left without a permanent CEO in February after Erez Vigodman stepped down, leaving new management to try to restore confidence in the world’s biggest generic drugmaker after a series of missteps. CFO Eyal Desheh also said he would resign at the end of June.  (Reuters)

Winter sales and financing costs retailer Fox a NIS 17.9m Q1 loss

This is the third year in a row that retailer Fox-Wizel, whose retail brands include the Fox fashion chain, the Laline cosmetics and bath chain and Israeli franchise operations of brands such as American Eagle Outfitters and Charles & Keith, has reported a 1st quarter loss, a period that is traditionally slow for its business. Late Wednesday, Fox-Wizel reported a quarterly loss of 17.9 million shekels ($5 million) for the first quarter of this year, the result of deeper discounting at the end of the winter season and steeper financing costs due to currency hedging. In any event, the results were better that a year earlier, when the company lost 19.6 million shekels. The company, whose shares closed down 4.8% on Thursday at 75.50 shekels, had 1st quarter revenues of 378 million shekels in Israel at Fox clothing stores and Fox Home, its housewares chain. That figure is 9% higher than the comparable period in 2016. Sales were helped by an early Passover. (Eran Azran) 

TASE closes lower, dragged down by insurance and communications stocks

Shares were generally lower in Thursday trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The benchmark Tel Aviv 35 index lost 0.53%, closing at 1,412.19 while the Tel Aviv 125 index slipped 0.69% to 1,282.08.  Trading volume for the day was 1.78 billion shekels ($493 million). The Insurance Plus index closed 1.84% lower at 1,585.19 and the Communications index was off 2.04% to 904.57. Among stocks of note was the real estate firm Gazit Globe, whose business exposure in Brazil, where a new political scandal has now surfaced, dragged its stock down 1.1% to 35.54 shekels. (Shelly Appelberg)