The Ticker / Greece Casts Shadow on Tel Aviv Shares

Bank of Israel intervenes in forex market – and tells dealers to keep it a secret; Mega CEO asks to spread debt repayments.

Reuters

Bank of Israel intervenes in forex market – and tells dealers to keep it a secret

The Bank of Israel bought between $200 million and $300 million in the foreign currency market yesterday, but that may be the last time the public hears about central bank intervention. Dealers said the bank stepped into the market for the first time since Governor Karnit Flug set up a sharp shekel appreciation Monday after a press conference detailing monetary policy. The dollar strengthened yesterday thanks to the intervention, to reach a Bank of Israel rate of 3.77, a gain of 0.2%. But the bank yesterday told currency traders it uses to refrain from telling the media about its purchases. “The rules between financial institutions and their clients, even major clients or central banks, bar reporting information to third parties about client trading,” the Bank of Israel said. “In recent weeks, many institutions in the forex market have violated these rules therefore the Bank of Israel deemed it proper to remind them.” The bank itself reports its activities once a month. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Mega CEO asks to spread debt repayments

Avigdor Kaplan, the chairman of the struggling Mega supermarket chain, met with suppliers about rescheduling the estimated 1 billion shekels ($260 million) in debts it has with them, after receiving special permission from antitrust authorities. Kaplan asked them to extend repayment on part of the debt for two months and the rest stretched out over three to five years, although it wasn’t clear what collateral he would offer for the relief. For now, Kaplan hasn’t received a response from the suppliers. They would normally be barred for competitive reasons from coordinating a debt rescheduling like this, but may get a nod from the Antitrust Authority because without a deal Mega faces collapse. Alon Blue Square, Mega’s parent company, promised this week as part of a rescue plan with unions to extend the supermarket chain a credit line of 120 million shekels, but industry sources said that was insufficient to keep the food retailer afloat. Shares of Alon Blue Square fell 1.4% to finish at 10.13 shekels. (Ora Coren) 

Mazor boosts revenues in second quarter 

Mazor Robotics said yesterday it has received orders for two Renaissance robot-surgical systems from hospitals in Barcelona and the United States. The two orders bring second-quarter sales so far to five, although the company said final sales figures would be formally released June 30. Given that the Renaissance systems typically sell for $830,000 each and the Spanish sale was reportedly bigger than that, system sales are likely to excess $4 million for the second quarter. With sales of disposables used in the system reaching 50% of sales in recent quarters, Mazor could be showing a big increase in revenues for the quarter of $6 million to $7 million, up from $4.5 million in the previous two quarters. Shares of Mazor, which have risen by a third in the past month, closed 5.35% higher at 26.35 shekels ($6.98). (Yoram Gabison)

Greece casts shadow on Tel Aviv shares

Worries that a Greek debt deal may not be reached after all left Tel Aviv shares lower for the day yesterday. The benchmark TA-25 index ended down 0.65% at 1,671.33 points, while the TA-100 lost a more modest 0.1% to 1,443.15. Turnover swelled to 2.5 billion shekels ($660 million) with the export of the June Maof (TA-25) option, which was set at 1,669.54. Bank shares were sharply down, with Leumi losing 1.3% to end at 16.40 shekels and Hapoalim off 1.7% at 20.92. Partner Communications surged higher to close at 10.36 shekels, a gain of 14.1%, while Cellcom advanced 7.8% to 15.65, with no news to support the rally. Bezeq, on the other hand, ended 2.4% down at 6.72. In the fixed-income market, prices extended their lossses. The government’s 10-year Shahar bond dropped 0.5% to set its yield at 2.67% while the inflation-linked Galil shed 0.36% to leave its yield at 0.67%. (Omri Zerachovitz)