The Ticker / Teva to Market Belviq Anti-obesity Drug

Yones offered post as IDB chair; TASE shares down slightly; Altshuler Shaham begins offering insurance; Israel Chemicals in fight over back taxes; Israel Chemicals in fight over back taxes.

Bloomberg

Teva Pharmaceuticals has signed an agreement for exclusive rights to market Arena Pharmaceuticals’ Belviq drug for reducing weight. The drug, the first in a decade to be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to treat obesity, was cleared in 2012 for use in adults with a body mass index of 30 or who have at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol. According to IMS, Belviq, which had been marketed by the Japanese company Eisai until now, had sales worth $16.8 million in the third quarter of 2014. (Yoram Gabison)

Yones offered post as IDB chair

Eli Yones, the former CEO of Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, has been approached to take over as chairman of IDB Development Corporation from the feuding co-chairman and controlling shareholders of the giant holding company. Eduardo Elsztain and Moti Ben-Moshe, who gained control of IDB over a year ago but have fought over strategy for turning it around, have agreed to offer the post to Yones, who has yet to decide despite two months of discussions. Yones has said he is hesitant to take the job so long as Elsztain and Ben-Moshe haven’t resolved their dispute over control and other issues, but has said he is willing to consider the model used by the Wertheim and Ofer families, who jointly control Mizrahi and gave management independence. Sources close to the talks said Yones, 63, was more likely to accept the job if Elsztain emerges as the dominant shareholder. (Michael Rochvarger)

Israel Chemicals in fight over back taxes

The Tax Authority told Israel Chemicals last week that it would only seek $200 million from ICL, $30 million less than it was originally claiming. But the giant chemicals maker is still planning to appeal the decision. The Tax Authority claims that ICL enjoyed tax breaks for its Rotem Amfert Negev and Dead Sea Works units in the years through 2011 because the two units didn’t meet the criteria for an amendment to the Law for Encouraging Capital Investment, which only applied to industrial companies. The authority also says ICL inflated prices of products it was selling its sister companies to reduce the latters’ profits and tax liabilities. Shares of Israel Chemicals fell 0.25% to 28.21 shekels ($7.17) yesterday. (Yoram Gabison)

Altshuler Shaham begins offering insurance

Altshuler Shaham, the financial services company, said yesterday it had received an insurance license from the Finance Ministry and will begin offering life insurance policies. The company said that in the next few weeks it would also begin offering savings plans and workman’s compensation policies. “We are starting off with more than 250,000 clients for our short-term savings products [mutual funds, portfolio management] and in the area of long-term savings [provident funds and pension funds]. What we were missing was life insurance, but now, after a year-and-a-half of preparations, we’re ready,” Yair Levinstein, who is heading the new insurance unit, told TheMarker. He said Altshuler planned to offer other kinds of policies eventually, including health insurance. Levinstein said Altshuler wasn’t looking for market share, but to widen its offerings to existing clients. (Assa Sasson)

TASE shares down slightly; bonds rally

Tel Aviv shares ended moderately lower yesterday after losing altitude in late morning as investors turned their attention to government bonds. The benchmark TA-25 index ended down 0.1% at 1,446.43 points, while the TA-100 fell 0.2% to 1,267.32, on turnover of just 454.9 million shekels ($115.7 million). Pluristem, which soared last week, turned sharply lower yesterday in heavy trading to shed 9.6% and end at 12.65 shekels. The cellphone companies continued their trek lower, with Partner Communications down 3.6% for the day at 12.88 shekels and Cellcom Israel off 2.7% at 20.24. Energy shares were also down, led by Ratio’s decline of 3.1% to 32 agorot and Delek Drilling’s 2.6% fall to 12.56. In the fixed-income market, the government’s shekel bond due in 2042 jumped 0.89%, leaving its yield at 2.94%. (Omri Zerachovitz)