The Ticker / Meretz Chief Urges Investors to Shun Delek Group Bond Offering

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Meretz leader Zehava Galon at the launching of the party's 2015 Knesset election campaign.Credit: Moti Milrod

Meretz party chairwoman MK Zehava Galon on Tuesday called on institutional investors not to buy the 400 million shekels in bonds Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Group is planning to issue in the coming weeks, citing the haircut investors were forced to take on Delek’s debt two years ago. “I am asking you not to participate in the bond issue Tshuva is making through Delek Group, because he has failed to repay earlier debt he owes to the public,” Galon said, referring to the 1.2 billion shekels ($310 million) bondholders were forced to write off on bond issued by the group’s Delek Real Estate unit. “It cannot be that the huge haircut Tshuva made with the public’s money shouldn’t be a decisive factor in participating in the issue.” Delek shares ended down 0.7% at 953.10 shekels. (Asa Sasson)

888 Holdings gets takeover offer

888 Holdings, the online gambling company started and controlled by Israelis, said on Tuesday it received a takeover approach from Britain’s biggest bookmaker William Hill, lifting its share price by more than 20%. The statement came shortly after The Times newspaper reported that William Hill had held advanced talks over a 750 million-pound ($1.14 billion) offer as it looks to accelerate expansion of its online gaming operations. The report said William Hill had reached a preliminary agreement with the 888 board on an offer at 210 pence a share. The Times report said talks could yet stumble because one of 888’s Israeli founders, thought to be the Shaked family, wanted 300 pence a share. (Reuters)

Thirty stocks account for 75% of TASE trade

Just 30 companies accounted for three quarters of all trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange last year, the bourse said in a report released Tuesday. “The list of the top 30 most traded stocks didn’t include First International Bank (31st place) or Osem (35th place), even though they are included in the TA-25 index,” said Yuval Tzuk of the TASE research division, said referring to the bourse’s blue-chip index. “By contrast, seven TA-25 stocks graduated to the top 30 shares – Ratio, Frutarom, TowerJazz, Africa Israel Investments, Oil Refineries Limited, Mazor Robotics and IDB Development Corporation.” Trading volume declined 5% to a daily average of 742 million shekels ($191.5 million) last year, despite efforts by the TASE to reverse it. The share of dual-listed in total trading, however, rose to 38% from 28% in 2013, with strong increase in trading of Teva Pharmaceuticals and Perrigo stock. (Dror Reich)

Allot reports rise in net as sales climb 12%

Allot Communications on Tuesday reported a fourth-quarter profit of $3.4 million, adjusted for non-recurring costs and stock option expenses, up from $3.1 million a year earlier. Earnings came to 10 cents a share, up from 9 cents and in line with the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research. The Internet protocol services company posted revenue of $30.6 million in the period, up 12% from a year ago but below Wall Street forecasts for $31 million, according to Zacks. “One of the major achievements of the fourth quarter is the breadth of large deals, 26 in total, of which 11 large deals are from new customers,” said CEO Andrei Elefant. Net income for all of 2014 reached $10.5 million, or 32 cents a diluted share, up from $4 million, or 121 cents a share. Shares of Allot rose 2.1% to close at 35.71 shekels ($9.22) . (TheMarker)

RedHill raises $12.5m in offering of ADSs

RedHill Biopharma, which is developing orally administered drugs for inflammatory and gastrointestinal diseases, including cancers, said on Tuesday it raised $12.5 million from an offering of one million American Depository Shares it sold at $12.50 per ADS. The offering is expected to close on February 13, with underwriters led by Wells Fargo Securities and Roth Capital Partners getting a 30-day option to purchase up to another 150,000 ADSs. RedHill said it would be using the proceeds for research and development in connection with RedHill’s therapeutic candidates, two of which are undergoing Phase II trials right now, as well as for potential acquisitions. RedHill shares dropped 13.9% to 4.89 shekels ($1.26). (TheMarker)

TA-25 up on talk of Greek debt compromise

Tel Aviv shares rose on Tuesday amid reports that a plan to cool off the Greek debt crisis was in the offing. The benchmark TA-25 index ended 0.3% higher at 1,462.15 points after a report that the European Commission will introduce a compromise proposal in which Greece should ask for a six-month period to discuss with lenders any pending issues and post-bailout plan. The TA-100 was up 0.4% as some 974 million shekels ($251.4 million) in shares changed hands. Among the top gainers in the TA-100, Ormat rose 6.5% to 31.26 shekels two days before it begins trading as a merged company with its U.S. unit Ormat Technologies and enters the TA-25. TowerJazz led TA-100 losers, shedding 3.8% to 54.11, capping a decline extending over eight of the last 10 trading days. In foreign currency trading, the euro lost almost 0.2% to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.3772 shekels, it lowest in 13 years. (Omri Zerachovitz) 

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