The Ticker / Bank Hapoalim to Lay Off Hundreds in Cost-cutting Drive

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A Bank Hapoalim branch.Credit: Lior Mizrahi

Bank Hapoalim , Israel’s biggest lender, will unveil on Tuesday morning, together with its 2014 financial results, a cost-cutting program that will reduce the workforce by several hundred this year through voluntary early retirement. CEO Zion Kenan emphasizes that cutting costs is the only way to improve profitability at the bank because growth prospects in the Israeli market are limited and its drive to expand overseas failed. This won’t be the first year of payroll cutbacks: In 2013 Hapoalim eliminated 534 positions. The contraction continued in 2014, although the final number will only be revealed on Tuesday. Bank Leumi is expected to announce a similar cost-cutting drive when it publishes its 2014 results. Hapoalim is also expected to reveal for the first time the extent of provisions it has taken against an expected penalty connected with a U.S. investigation into how it allegedly helped customers evade taxes. (Sivan Aizescu) 

CyberArk sets terms for $237-million secondary share offering

CyberArk, the high-flying computer network security company, on Monday detailed the terms for a secondary offering of stock by insider shareholders. The company, whose shares have rocketed 275% higher since its initial public offering in September, will be priced at $59.70, the same as its closing price on the Nasdaq on Friday. A total of $237 million worth of shares will be sold, raising the float to 33% from 20% Tuesday. The biggest seller will be the venture capital fund JVP, which has a 36% stake in CyberArk and expects to earn $110 million in the offering. Other shareholders include the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as Psagot investment House and Harel Insurance & Finance. Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank Securities and Bank of America Merrill Lynch  are managing the offering. CyberArk shares were trading down 3.5% at $57.68 at midafternoon local time in New York Monday. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Spacecom cleared for $50-million bond sale to fund satellite launch

Spacecom, the Israeli company that operates the fleet of Amos communications satellites, is going ahead with plans to raise 200 million shekels ($49.9 million) in bond sales to finance the launch of the Amos 6 satellite. Spacecom said on Monday it was moving ahead with the bond issue after getting clearance from its lenders, which include the two government lenders, the U.S. Export-Import Bank and Export Development Canada. Spacecom borrowed $293 million from the two banks in 2013 to finance Amos 6, which is being built by Israel Aerospace Industries and is scheduled to go into operation in February-March 2016. It will replace Amos 2 and has already won $247 million worth of service contracts. Shares of Spacecom closed up 1.2% at 55.03 shekels.  (Yoram Gabison)

Banks power Tel Aviv shares higher

Tel Aviv shares powered higher on Monday, led by a rally in bank stocks. The benchmark TA-25 index closed at a new record high, adding 0.8% to finish at 1,550.33 points, while the TA-100 index rose 0.6% to 1,369.38 points. Turnover wasjust over 1.4 billion shekels ($350 million). Israel Discount Bank led lenders higher (see story on this page), but others were not far behind: Bank Leumi finished 2.7% up at 14.15 shekels and Bank Hapoalim rose 2.5% to an 18.29-shekel close. Ashtrom Properties led TA-100 shares higher on a 4.2% gain to 10.03 shekels after Psagot Investment House raised its target price for the stock to 11.70 shekels from 10.30. Other big gainers were Ormat Technologies, up 3.5% to 138.90 shekels, and Strauss Group, which closed 2.9% up, at 61.87 shekels. In the fixed-income market, the government’s Shahar bond due in 2023 rose 0.18% to lower its yield to 1.76%. Its shekel bond due in 2042 rose a sharper 0.39% to leave its yield at 2.82%. (Eran Azran) 

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