The Ticker: TASE Privatization Bill Postponed to Knesset’s Winter Session

Cellect ADSs plunge in first day of trading; Cellect ADSs plunge in first day of trading; court clears sale of Africa Israel’s AFI subsidiary to Lev Leviev; Tel Aviv ends higher after four days of losses.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Moti Milrod

TASE privatization bill postponed to Knesset’s winter session

Legislation enabling the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to become a for-profit company got pushed off until the Knesset’s winter session after Knesset Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) decided on Sunday not to put the bill on the panel’s agenda before it adjourns for summer recess on Wednesday. The Finance Ministry and the Israel Securities Authority had sought to hold the first of three readings the legislation needs to become law last week and the other two this week in an accelerated process. But the plans were upset by an opposition filibuster over the budget that prevented Gafni from holding finance committee meetings on the TASE law. In any case, the law faces opposition from many committee members as well as the banks and the Movement for Quality of Government. The law’s backers hope by privatizing the TASE it will become more dynamic and competitive and help reverse a decline in trading activity and listings. (Zvi Zrahiya)

Cellect ADSs plunge in first day of trading

Cellect Biotechnology, a biotechnology company traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, saw the price of its American depository shares plunge Friday in their first day of trading on the Nasdaq after it raised $8.4 million from U.S. investors. The company priced its approximately 1.29 million ADSs and warrants to purchase up to another 969,000 ADSs at $6.50 each, but in the first day of trading the ADSs closed down more than 233% at about $5. Each ADS represents 20 of the company’s TASE-traded ordinary shares, and the warrants entitle holders to buy 15 additional ADSs at an exercise price of $7.50 any time over the next five years. Cellect, whose technology aids stem-cell researchers, said it plans to use the proceeds from the offering to fund Phase I and II clinical trials, working capital and other corporate purposes. In Tel Aviv, Cellect shares finished down 19.2% at 1.25 shekels (33 cents). (Omri Zerachovitz)

Court clears sale of Africa Israel’s AFI subsidiary to Lev Leviev

Africa Israel Investments shares rallied on Sunday after Tel Aviv District Court Judge Eitan Orenstein approved the sale of the property company’s AFI Development unit to controlling shareholder Lev Leviev. Orenstein rejected claims that shareholders had to approve the sale before it could go ahead, saying that while Africa was in the midst of debt bailout talks, creditors get the final say. “At a time when creditors are interested in doing the transaction, the court must prefer their desires over those of shareholders so long as the creditors’ position does not involve any conflict of interest,” Orenstein said in a 14-page ruling. Under the deal, Leviev will buy Africa’s 65% stake in AFI, whose Russian property holdings have been hit hard by the country’s recession, for 500 million shekels ($131.2 million) and give bondholders an option to take up to 10%  anytime in the next three years. Africa shares closed up 6.7% at 1.28 shekels (Shelly Appelberg)

Tel Aviv ends higher after four days of losses

Tel Aviv shares snapped a four-day losing streak on Sunday as biomedical shares led the market higher. The TA-25 and TA-100 indexes each ended the day more than 0.4% higher at 1,458.00 and 1,272.89 points, respectively, on thin Sunday trading of just 387 million shekels. ($101.5 million). Mazor Robotics led biomedical and TA-100 shares higher, jumping 9.2% to close at 42.45 shekels. RedHill Biopharma rose 4.65% to 4.93 and Opko Health by 1.5% to 38.24. Isramco led energy shares higher on a 1.3% advance to 69 agorot after the Energy Ministry extended the area for its Daniel West license, increasing reserves by 11% to 6.9 trillion cubic feet. However, shares of its partner, Modiin Energy, dropped 3.4%$ to 9.44 shekels. Teva Pharmaceuticals led the most actives but dropped 2.5% to close at 205.30, making it the day’s biggest loser on the TA-100. In the fixed-income market, the government’s 10-year Shahar bond rose 0.47% to lower its yield to 1.6%.  (Shelly Appelberg)