The Ticker

Supersol to take NIS 200m in charges; Dollar weak again against shekel; Israel Chemicals action against union chief; TASE falls in heavy trading.

Daniel Tchetchik

Supersol slates NIS 200m in charges
Supersol, Israel’s biggest supermarket chain, said yesterday it will be taking 200 million-shekel ($58.3 million) in charges to cover a cost-cutting program. The charges, approved by the board yesterday, will mostly be taken in the retailer’s second-quarter financial statement and leave it with a loss for the period, Supersol said. The program, announced last month, aims to make the chain more competitive with discount supermarkets by cutting prices and emphasizing its private label brands, as well as by laying off staff and closing some 15, or 5%, of its outlets. Shares of Supersol fell 3.9% to close at 11.30 shekels in Tel Aviv.
(Yoram Gabison and Adi Dovrat-Meseritz)

Dollar weak again against shekel
The dollar resumed weakening against the shekel on Thursday, after a one-day move higher, ending down nearly 0.3% to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.432, its weakest in nearly three years. The euro shed 0.2% of its value to 4.673 shekels. “The global momentum is working against the dollar so that even intervention by the Bank of Israel won’t stop its direction,” said currency trader FXCM on Thursday. It blamed the latest weakness of the U.S. currency on the Bank of Israel’s decision on Monday to hold its base lending rate unchanged at 0.75% for July, followed by Wednesday’s report of a deeper-than-expected economic contraction in the United States in the first quarter. FXCM said the dollar rate was likely to reach 3.40 shekels under current conditions. (Shelly Appelberg)

Israel Chemicals files police complaint against union chief
Israel Chemicals management filed a complaint with the police yesterday against the chairman of the Dead Sea Works workers committee, accusing him of “disrupting potash production at the plant.” The complaint against Armand Lankri comes a week after the union imposed a labor slowdown in protest against ICL’s planned cost-cutting programs. “Workers have not just engaged in a slowdown but have, under instructions from the committee, stopped potash production altogether by blocking routes between salt polls and preventing teams of professionals from inspecting the pools for the damage they have caused,” said one executive, who asked not to be identified, Lankri denied the union had done anything illegal. ICL shares closed down 1.2% to 29.06 shekels ($8.48) in Tel Aviv. (Haim Bior)

Tel Aviv shares fall in heavy trading
Tel Aviv shares ended lower yesterday for a third straight session, with the TA-25 and TA-100 indices both down 0.3% at 1,389.36 and 1,248.60 points, respectively. Turnover was a heavy 1.88 billion shekels ($550 milion) due to the expiry of June Maof (TA-25) options contracts at 1,388.97 points. The decline left both indices down a sharp 1.4% for the week, with the Real Estate 15 index off 2.6% and the TA-Bank index down 2.7%. Israel Corporation closed down 3% at 1,981 shekels, capping a fall of 5% since the start of June amid concerns that the bailout of its Zim unit will fail. Allot Communications dropped 4.8% to 43.10 shekels. IDB Development Corporation shares traded heavily after completing an offering, with its shares falling 2.1% to a finish of 4.63 shekels. (Shelly Appelberg