The Ticker: Elsztain Lashes Out at Bondholders Seeking to Liquidate IDB

Discount Bank urging high-paid managers to take severance package.

Daniel Bar On

FDA panel says new Teva opioid painkiller fails to offer protection against oral abuse

Teva Pharmaceuticals shares rose yesterday despite setbacks for the company reported over the weekend.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a preliminary review That Teva’s Vantrela ER, an experimental, long-acting painkiller, does not have abuse-resistant properties when taken orally. The drug did, however, did demonstrate resistance to abuse by those seeking to inhale or inject it, said the review, which will now be considered by a panel of FDA experts. In related news, the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society reported that on May 27 the FDA announced an import alert prohibiting drugs made at Teva’s Hungary manufacturing site from entering the United States. A Teva spokeswoman said the ban does not include two drugs that are medically necessary and in short supply in the United States — the infection treatment Amikacin and the chemotherapy drug Bleomycin. Teva shares ended up 0.4% at 288.30 shekels ($74.94). (Yoram Gabison and TheMarker)

Elsztain lashes out at bondholders seeking to liquidate IDB

Eduardo Elsztain yesterday accused bondholders who petitioned Tel Aviv District Court last week to liquidate his IDB Development Corporation of acting against the interest of the company and its shareholders. “The petition is an example of abuse of the legal system. It is an action being led by aggressive, privately controlled funds whose only goal is to improve the value of the bonds they hold even at the cost of causing damage to the company and its controlling shareholders,” said Eyal Rosovksy, who represents Dolphin, the company through which Elsztain controls IDB. He noted that in 2013, IDB Development was valued at up to 1.1 billion shekels ($290 million) and that since then shareholders led by Elsztain have injected some 2.5 billion shekels into the company without selling any assets, meaning IDB should now be worth as much as 3.6 billion shekels. IDB shares ended up 0.5% at 82.38 shekels. (Shelly Appelberg)

Discount Bank urging high-paid managers to take severance package

Israel Discount Bank is moving ahead with a voluntary early-retirement scheme focusing on top managers, sources said over the weekend. They said scores of high-paid managers are being offered severance terms equal to up to 250% of their salaries even though no formal layoff plan has been filed with the Bank of Israel. The bank, Israel’s third largest, has warned executives that the special benefits it negotiated with the Israel Tax Authority in 2014 for employees getting enlarged severance packages expires October 12. “We doubt we will be able to get approval like this again,” it said in a letter. Like Bank Leumi, which said last week it reached an agreement with unions for 700 job cuts, layoffs would not only bring cost savings but also entitle Discount to easier capital adequacy standards from the central bank. Shares of Discount, which has one of the highest cost structures in Israeli banking, ended up 0.1% at 6.34 shekels ($1.65). (Michael Rochvarger)

Tel Aviv shares edge down, weighed by tech 

Israeli shares edged down yesterday in quiet trading as tech shares weighed on an otherwise higher market. A move higher in early trading quickly faded. Both the TA-25 and TA-100 indexes ended down, albeit by less than 0.1% to 1,443.87 and 1.256.32 points, respectively. Just 499 million shekels ($129.7 million) in shares changed hands. Declines in biomedical and other technology shares were led by Opko Health, which finished the day 5% lower at 38.88 shekels and by TowerJazz, which lost 2.6% to 49.91. Collplant tumbled 5.65% to 35 agorot after saying it planned to issue new shares. Property & Building declined 1.45% to 285.40 after Discount Investment Corporation sold a 12% bloc of shares for 220 million shekels, the first time IDB had divested a major asset since Eduardo Elsztain took control of the group.  SodaStream led gainers in the TA-100, advancing 4.4% to 83.26 shekels. (Shelly Appelberg)