The Ticker / Tel Aviv Shares Down as Investors Await Greek Referendum

Key executive quits ailing Mega supermarkets;Elbit wins $150m contract from Dutch; Playtech buys Israel’s Ava Trade for $105 million.

Bloomberg

Key executive quits ailing Mega supermarkets

The troubles at Mega, the ailing supermarket chain, got even worse on Thursday, when a key executive announced his was quitting. Yoram Avigad said he was stepping down as deputy CEO for trade and would be replaced by Yaniv Ulnik, who has been in charge of the fresh produce department for the past three years. Avigad’s resignation came a day after a court gave Mega two weeks to negotiate with suppliers and other creditors over debts amounting to 1.3 billion shekel ($340 million.) The struggling retailer will meantime pay suppliers in cash.

Mega’s situation is so desperate that Eyal Ali, the head of the workers’ committee, called on employees to encourage friends and family to shop at the supermarket, “Convincing the public in Israel to come and buy will ensure the chain gets on the road to recovery, will calm suppliers and creditors and buy us time to recover,” he said in a letter. Shares of Alon Blue Square, Mega’s parent company, ended up 0.6% at 7.85 shekels. (Adi Dovrat-Meseritz)
 

Playtech buys Israel’s Ava Trade for $105 million

Playtech, the gaming-technology company founded by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi, said Wednesday it had agreed to buy the Israeli online currency trading platform Ava Trade for $105 million to expand its offerings. The acquisition was undertaken through its TradeFX unit, acquired in April, which provides a trading platform and payment services. Ava Trade deals in contracts for difference, which allow a buyer to trade on market price movements without actually owning the underlying asset.

Playtech, which has offered to buy another big Israeli online trader, Plus 500, is aiming to carve out a niche in currency trading using its technology, as the gambling industry comes under pressure from higher taxes and tougher regulation. Formed in 2006, Ava Trade had $70 million in revenue last year. Playtech shares rose 3.9% to 850 pence ($1.33) on the London Stock Exchange. (Dror Reich)
 

Elbit wins $150m contract from Dutch

Defense electronics firm Elbit Systems said on Thursday that a subsidiary had won a $150 million, five-year contract from the Dutch Defense Ministry to supply “smart” vests for infantry soldiers in the Benelux countries. Elbit will be supplying the equipment as part of the Smart Vest program between the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg that will provide ground soldiers with a light-weight system to enhance survivability and safety while increasing their capabilities in the battlefield via command and control systems, specialized displays and vehicle systems.

Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd will serve as the program’s prime contractor and Thales Netherlands BV will be its main sub-contractor, with other local companies taking part. Elbit shares closed up 2% at 296.40 shekels ($78.62). (TheMarker Staff)
 

Tel Aviv shares down as investors await Greek referendum

Greece continued to weigh on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, as investors awaited the result of Sunday’s referendum on a rescue plan for the economy. The TA-25 and TA-100 indices both ended down about 0.6% at 16,663.90 and 1,431.38 points, respectively, on light turnover of 986 million shekels ($261.5 mill on). Technology stocks led the declines, with Perion Network off 6.4% to 10.19 shekels and TowerJazz down 3.8% at 58.69. But Teva Pharmaceuticals, the volume leader, finished 1.2% higher at 232.20 shekels.

IDB Development Corporation led the TA-100 higher on a gain of 3.7% to 2.24 shekels. Super-Sol rose 1.1% to close at 8.94, apparently on the back of rival Mega’s woes even though Leumi Capital Markets on Wednesday rated the stock a Market Underperform and set a target price of 6.20 shekels. In the fixed-income market, the government’s 10-year shekel bond rose 0.56% and its inflation-linked Galil bond due in 2023 by 0.38%. (Omri Zerachovitz)