The Ticker: First Int’l Earnings Edge Higher in Quarter

Moran Mayaan

First Int’l earnings edge higher in quarter

First International Bank of Israel, the country’s fifth-largest lender, reported a 1.4% rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday, boosted by a recovery in credit-loss charges. FIBI posted third-quarter net profit of 146 million shekels ($38 million) compared with 144 million a year earlier. Interest and non-interest financing income edged up to 564 million shekels from 560 million, while the bank recovered 11 million shekels in the quarter, compared with setting aside 21 million shekels in credit-loss expenses a year earlier.  “Results reflect continued growth in activity, as is apparent from the expansion of the credit portfolio, the volume of customer assets, and from customers’ activity in the capital market,” said CEO Smadar Barber-Tsadik. FIBI shares finished up 1.4% at 54.46 shekels. (Reuters)

Spanish bank takes stake in Sigma

In another sign of the growing attractiveness of Israel for private banking, Spain’s Andbank is acquiring a 60% controlling stake in the Israeli investment house Sigma for an estimated price of 25 million to 30 million shekels ($6.5-7.8 million).The money won’t go to Sigma’s controlling shareholders but will remain in the bank as capital. Sigma, which is managed by Uri Galai, the son of founder Dan Galai, manages a relatively small 3.5 billion shekels in assets for individuals, companies, kibbutzim and institutional investors. Uri Galai told TheMarker that Andbank’s entry will give it greater access to global markets and expand its operations. “Andbank has been seeking to enter the Israeli market for some time, Israel is wealth. True social gaps are wide and people feel up against it, but there are a lot of rich people in Israel,” he said. (Eran Azran)

Refineries has 3rd straight profitable quarter

Oil Refineries Limited said on Wednesday it marked its third straight quarter in the black, turning in a $14.6 million net profit for the three months that ended September 30, compared with a $70 million loss a year earlier. Revenues from its fuel business fell 9% from a year ago to $2.2 billion because of a 5.5% average decline in the controlled price of fuel and a slight drop in fuel consumption in the Israeli market. The company’s refining margins – the difference between what it pays for crude oil and the price it receives from customers – dropped to $1.70 from $4.40 a year earlier. ORL’s polymers business had a better quarter, with sales up 5.3% to $277 million while operating profit jumped 170%. ORL shares tumbled 3.8% to a 1.24-shekel (32 cents) clos due to expectations that its third quarter would be stronger than it was.  (Yoram Gabison)

Azrieli profit tripled in third quarter

Real estate developer Azrieli Group announced on Wednesday that it more than tripled third-quarter net profit due to a rise in rents in Israel and a decline in financing and tax expenses. Azrieli, whose property portfolio includes some of Israel’s best-known shopping malls, saw net profit reach more than 170 million shekels ($44 million), compared with 55 million a year earlier. Net operating income, which reflects the group’s core business, edged up 3% to 285 million shekels. The company’s 4.8% stake in Bank Leumi, Israel’s second-biggest lender, increased in value by 80 million shekels after taxes due to an 11% rise in the share price.  Azrieli shares finished ahead 1.2% at 123.40 shekels. (Reuters)

Weak Wall Street trims Tel Aviv advance

A weak opening for Wall Street undercut Tel Aviv shares on Wednesday, leaving the major indices with just sliver-wider gains for the session. The TA-25 and TA-100 indices both ended up 0.09% to 1,451.74 and 1,295.99 points, respectively on turnover of 1.12 billion shekels ($292 million). Israel Chemicals, the day’s most active shares by a wide margin, rallied 1.9% to close at 27.80 shekels after  Russian rival OAO Uralkali halted operations at a key potash mine because of flooding, reducing global supply. Frutarom jumped 2.7% to 100.10 on a 42% rise in third-quarter net profit, it reported Wednesday. Super-Sol fell 3.7% to 8.57. Leumi Capital Markets downgraded the stock to Market Underperform 0. The price of the government’s 10-year Shahar bond fell for the third session in a row, dropping 0.12% to raise its yield to 2.17%. (Omri Zerachovitz)