The Ticker: Dollar Climbs Above 3.70 Shekels for First Time in 18 Months

Apax pulls IPO in Zap price-comparison platform after investors balk at valuation ■ Dollar climbs above 3.70 shekels for first time in 18 months

Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug holds up a newly designed 50 shekel banknote during its presentation at a news conference in Jerusalem September 10, 2014.
REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Apax pulls IPO in Zap price-comparison platform after investors balk at valuation

An initial public offering in the online price-comparison platform Zap has been pulled by its controlling shareholder Apax Partners after institutional investors showed tepid interest in the offering because of what they said was its excessive valuation, TheMarker has learned. The private equity fund Apax filed a prospectus a month ago and planned to sell between 20% and 30% of Zap at a valuation of as much as 700 million shekels ($188.8 million). But the offering was slated at a time when the IPO market is struggling because mutual funds, a major buyer of IPOs, have suffered large redemptions this year. Moreover, the IPO was scheduled at a time when Amazon is widely believed to be moving into the Israeli market, a move that would upset Zap’s core price-comparison business. Apax had hoped to tempt investors by promising that Zap would pay a dividend rate of 50% of profits, but that couldn’t offset the negatives, sources said. (Guy Erez and Michael Rochvarger)

Dollar climbs above 3.70 shekels for first time in 18 months

The dollar pushed past the 3.70-shekel level on Monday for the first time in 18 months as the greenback extended it gains globally. The representative rate for the dollar was set at 3.71 shekels, a gain of 0.27% for the day and 3.9% over the last two months. The euro, meanwhile, extended its losses, weakening 0.05% to 4.2773 shekels. In global markets, the dollar has marked two consecutive weeks of gains, as investors bet that trade war rhetoric and a strong U.S. economy would continue to drive the currency higher. But a dealer who spoke to TheMarker on Monday said the dollar’s run-up on Monday was due to local factors. “The dollar jumped to 3.74 during trading because of the banks. The banks stocked up on dollars because their algo-traders had been buying dollars from them over the last months,” he said, referring to computer-based trading. In late trading the dollar weakened to 3.6985 shekels. (Assa Sasson)

Stock exchange makes trading, clearing commission rates available online

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange said on Monday it had begun for the first time ever to make available information on trading and clearing commissions charged by members as part of a drive to increase trading volumes. The exchange said the information that now appears on its website is designed to enable investors to compare charges. It includes figures on average commission rates based on the size of a client’s portfolio as well as the published rates for trades. “Publishing comparative commissions will increase the competition for the investor public and will make the TASE more dominant and accessible to the general public,” said TASE CEO Itay Ben-Zeev. The data are available thanks to the 2017 Securities Law that converted the bourse into a limited liability company and also required exchange members to report their commissions and fees to the bourse. The law also requires members to notify their clients of the website. (Assa Sasson)

Saidoff completes acquisition of Housing & Construction

Shari Arison has completed the sale of her troubled construction group Housing & Construction Limited to the Israeli-American real estate entrepreneur Naty Saidoff, the company said on Monday. Saidoff, who finally gets ahold of a major Israeli company after several false starts, paid 1.1 billion shekels ($300 million) for a 47% of the company – 850 million in cash now and the rest in 15 months. Saidoff also promised Arison to make charitable donations of 25 million shekels as part of the deal. The sale goes through without any final answer to employees concerning their demand for a bonus due to the sale. In a letter to Arison last week, the Housing & Construction workers committee threatened unspecific steps if its demands weren’t met. Shares of the company, which is the target of a wide-ranging police investigation into allegations that top executives bribed African officials to win contracts, finished 2.6% higher at 7.09 shekels. (Yoram Gabison

Tel Aviv shares eke out gains a day after touching three-year high

Tel Aviv shares on Monday held to the three-year high they had touched a day earlier after Standard & Poor’s raised Israel’s credit rating. The benchmark TA-35 index eked out an 0.1% gain to end at 1,604.92 points, while the TA-125 gained 0.02%% to 1,429.49, on turnover of 1.05 billion shekels ($280 million). Despite the downturn Harel Finance said in a report Monday that it was bullish on the stock market’s outlook and recommended investors continue to put at least half their portfolio in domestic stocks. It said not to increase exposure to bonds because the short-term positive impact on the credit upgrade would soon be offset by higher interest rates. Bezeq fell 1.3% to 3.80 shekels after it reported it was being ordered to pay 143 million to the Israel Lands Authority on the sale of its Saqiya site. Nova marked a third day of strong gains following earnings, adding 2.9% to close at 103.60. (Assa Sasson)