The Ticker: Rami Levy Raises Its Bid for Mega Supermarket Chain Again

Energy shares rally on gas agreement; Bonds of U.S. property firm Extell tumble; World bourses bring down Tel Aviv shares.

Daniel Bar-On

Rami Levy raises its bid for Mega supermarket chain again

Discount supermarket chain Rami Levy yesterday raised its bid another time for the bankrupt Mega chain and said it would appeal this week’s court decision to sell the bankrupt food retailer to rival Yenot Bitan. Rami Levy said its newest offer was 100 million shekels ($26 million) higher than that of Yenot Bitan, whose bid was approved by Central District Court Judge Ilan Shiloh earlier this week. Rami Levy’s attorneys said Shiloh’s reasoning for approving Yenot Bitran’s bid because he said it would not present antitrust problems while selling the chain to Rami Levy would. But Rami Levy attorneys pointed out that a lawyer representing the Antitrust Authority in court had been more equivocal about the authority’s stance. The lawyers said they were also seeking a clarification from the authority on the matter. Buying Mega would vault Yenot Bitan into second place among Israeli supermarkets chains with more than 200 stores. Rami Levy shares ended down 0.65% at 152.70 shekels. (Yoram Gabison)

Energy shares rally on gas agreement

Energy shares rallied on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange yesterday, a day after the government and the gas cartel reached an agreement to revise a key element of the gas framework agreement. Few details of the framework’s revised “stability clause” were available, but it appeared it would give the state the right to amend regulations over the industry while ensuring a certain rate of return for gas companies. “The practical significance of the agreement is the final approval of the gas framework, which had been a major obstacle to everything connected with gas export agreement,” said Yehonatan Shohat, an analyst a Leader Capital Markets. Avner and Delek Drilling, two partners in the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields, finished up 4.3% at 2.30 shekels (60 cents) and 3.7% higher at 12.45. Ratio, which is a partner in Leviathan, added 8.4% to end at 27 agorot. In New York, Noble Energy was down 1.45% at $34.77 midday local time. (Uri Tomer)

Bonds of U.S. property firm Extell tumble

Bonds of the U.S. property developer Extell, which are already trading a junk levels, tumbled for a second day yesterday, with its aleph series falling 6.6% and its bet series down 7.5% by the end of trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Investors are concerned that the New York has yet to confirm it has secured some $1 billion in financing over the last several weeks for several big real estate projects it is developing as well as its exposure to the sputtering market for super-luxury real estate. “Like others in its segment, Extell is suffering an extreme cash flow problem,” said Yaniv Saylan of IBI Israel Brokerage & Investment, saying the company was caught between its failure to complete building projects that would generate income and the need to finance seven projects under development like Central Park Tower. Saylan said the odds of Extell securing the financing by the end of the month are poor and that prices for the bonds would fall, but he added that the longer-time outlook was better as the company begins generating cash or sells assets. (Eran Azran)

World bourses bring down Tel Aviv shares

Lower world bourses pushed the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange lower yesterday even as energy shares rallied. The benchmark TA-25 index ended at 1,398.45 points, down 0.8% for the day, and the TA-100 down 0.7% at 1,212.43, as 1.38 billion shekels ($360 million) in shares changed hands. Africa Israel Investments continued lower for a second day after it announced it was seeking a second debt-bailout. After falling more than 20% Wednesday, they dropped another 5.6% to 1.20, an all-time lower and cutting Africa Israel’s market cap to 247 million shekels from 22 billion nine years ago. Israel Chemicals declined 1.1% to end at 15.08 shekels in heavy trading a day after turning in poor first-quarter earnings. Among top gainers in the TA-100, El Al Airlines advanced 2.3% to 2.75 shekels. In foreign currency trading, the dollar extended its gains, adding 0.6% to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.3228 shekels. (Uri Tomer)