The Ticker: Bezeq Faces 11.3-million-shekel Fine

Clal Insurance keeps AA+ rating; Azrieli names Eyal Chenkin new CEO; TASE finishes up after Sunday trading

A public telephone in Tel Aviv installed and operated by Israeli company Bezeq in 2016.
Ofer Vaknin

Bezeq faces 11.3-million-shekel fine

The Communications Ministry will be fining Bezeq Telecommunications 11.3 million shekels ($3.3 million), the company informed the stock exchange on Sunday. The fine is over Bezeq’s refusal to sell wholesale landline telephone services to competitors as it had been ordered to do by regulators starting in mid-2015. The Communications Ministry had ordered Bezeq to enable competitors to lay communications lines in the ground alongside its own lines via subcontractors, and not through Bezeq itself. Bezeq appealed to the High Court of Justice against the reform, arguing that it was impossible from an engineering perspective, but its appeal was rejected. In practice the reform, intended to increase competition in the landline market, has yet to take place. Bezeq stated that the Communications Ministry had ordered it “to act with determination to fulfill the orders, and the Communications Ministry is considering taking further action.” It has been given 30 days to appeal. (Amitai Ziv)

Clal Insurance, on block, keeps AA+ rating

Rating company Maalot S&P confirmed Thursday its AA+ rating for Clal Insurance, which is about to be sold. “There has been no significant change in the business and financial risk profile of Clal Insurance over the past year,” wrote the analysts. The company has maintained its position as one of the five largest insurance companies in Israel, and has also maintained its range of insurance-related products. On the other hand, insurance companies have been ordered to increase their reserves for their mandatory car insurance policies, which has harmed profitability. However, the rating could decrease if an ownership change leads to a dramatic change in corporate policy, or an increase in corporate debt. (Shelly Appelberg)

Azrieli names Eyal Chenkin new CEO

Israeli real estate developer Azrieli Group said Sunday it named Eyal Chenkin as its new chief executive after Yuval Bronstein decided to step down at the end of 2017. Chenkin, 48, will take over as CEO on January 1. Since 2010, he has served as CEO of Supergas Israel Gas Distribution Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of Azrieli. Chairwoman Danna Azrieli said the company was in a development boom of 600,000 square meters valued at 5 billion shekels. (Reuters)

TASE finishes up after Sunday trading

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange finished the week’s first trading session with gains on the leading indexes. The blue-chip Tel Aviv-35 Index ended Sunday’s trading up 0.7%, at 1,445 points, while the broader Tel Aviv-125 index finished up 0.7% as well, at 1,319 points. Bank shares gained 1.3%, insurance shares gained 1.0%, communications and technology shares gained 0.8%, and real estate shares gained 0.5%. Oil and gas shares slipped down 0.2% Notable shares included Teva Pharmaceuticals, up 2%, Opko Health, also up 2%, Kamada Pharmaceuticals, up 7%. Micromedic and Insuline gained 21% and 20%, respectively. Total turnover was a slim 478 million shekels. (Omri Zerachovitz)