The Ticker: Oil Shale Firm Owned by Australia’s Casella Family Eyes IPO

Digital ad firm Matomy laying off 10% of staff as it unveils new business strategy; TowerJazz beats forecasts for earnings; Tel Aviv shares ignore Macron victory

TowerJazz chip-fabrication plant.

Oil shale firm controlled by Australia’s Casella family eyes IPO

Northwood Exploration Israel could become the third energy partnership this year to conduct an initial public offering for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, TheMarker has learned. The company seeks to raise tens of millions of shekels to pursue its plans for oil shale development in Mishor Rotem, in Israel’s Negev region, where it has rights to explore 2.96 million square meters. Northwood says the oil shale it recovers will be mixed with nonbiodegradable plastic waste, at a facility it plans to build, to produce a cleaner fuel. The company is also a 51% partner in a gold-exploration venture in Eilat Mountains. NEI was founded in 2011. It is controlled by Australia’s Casella family, which has  interests in the mining and drilling industries in Australia and Papua New Guinea and owns Casella Wines, one of the largest wine producers in the world. IBI Poalim will lead the offering. (Eran Azran)

Digital ad firm Matomy laying off 10% of staff as it unveils new business strategy

Less than a month after the Brosh Fund forced out its founding CEO, the digital advertising firm Matomy said on Monday it was undertaking a new strategic plan and laying off 10% of its 400-strong workforce. “It’s not an easy day for any of us. We’re parting with good and wonderful people who gave their all for Matomy,” Sagi Niri, who replaced Ofer Druker as CEO in April, told TheMarker. “Most of the firings are of people in Israel.” He said that after a string of acquisitions, the company had to trim its cost structure to ensure profitability. The Brosh Fund, which has a 7% stake Matomy, had accused Druker of failing to develop a business strategy and of faulty management. Niri’s plan calls for focusing on mobile and programmatic video advertising as well as domain monetization and will leave other segments at a savings of $10 million annually. Matomy shares ended up 2.4% at 5.10 shekels ($1.42). (Shelly Appelberg)

TowerJazz beats forecasts for earnings

Chip maker TowerJazz reported first-quarter net profit ahead of estimates, boosted by robust demand from high-margin businesses. TowerJazz said on Monday it earned 45 cents per diluted share in the quarter, down from 69 cents a share a year earlier, when the company reported a $41 million gain from the acquisition of a plant in Texas. Excluding one-time items, EPS rose to 49 cents from 31 cents as revenue grew 19% to $330 million. The company had been forecast to earn 43 cents a share, not counting one-time items, on revenue of $330 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. “During the quarter, we received higher than expected demand for high-margin businesses. ... These orders, which will be shipped throughout the next quarters, further strengthen our belief for revenue and margin growth in the year,” CEO Russell Ellwanger said. Tower projected second-quarter revenue of about $345 million for a 13% year-on-year gain. Shares of Tower closed 6.65% higher at 83.55 shekels ($23.24). (Reuters)

Tel Aviv shares ignore Macron victory 

Like the rest of the world’s share markets, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Monday shrugged off Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election a day earlier. The blue chip TA-35 index drifted sideways all day and ended unchanged at 1,423.52 points, while the TA-125 edged just 0.08% higher to 1,289.80. Some 1.56 billion shekels ($430 million) in shares changed hands. Banks were sharply lower, with volume leader Leumi ending down 1.6% to 17.09 shekels and Bank Hapoalim losing 1.3% to 23.07. But Israel Discount Bank rose 1.5% to 9.13 and insurance companies extended their Sunday gains, led by Clal’s 2.1% advance to 64. Mazor rose 5.5% to 67.80. Direct Insurance climbed 5.1% to 37, after reporting late on Sunday it was taking the first step to going private by issuing shares to investors led by Bank Leumi. Mankind rallied for a second day on a deal for its Afrezza insulin treatment, adding 7.3% to its 6.9% rise the day before to close at 3.02. (Guy Erez)