The Ticker: After Losing Spacecom Contract, Israel Aerospace Wants Its Own Satellite

Teva to close Ashdod plant after failing to find a buyer ■ Therapix shares rally on successful trials for cannabis-based drug ■ Hapoalim slates NIS 3 billion bond sale in shadow of U.S. tax probe

A drone model on display at the booth of drone maker Israel Aerospace Industries at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore February 8, 2018.
\ STAFF/ REUTERS


After losing Spacecom contract, Israel Aerospace wants to operate its own satellite 

After losing a contract to build a communications satellite for Spacecom, Israel Aerospace Industries has declared war. State-owned IAI said on Monday it was weighing building and operating its own satellite designed for the Israeli government and commercial customers, and plans to apply to Israel’s Communications Ministry for an operating license. The announcement comes two weeks after Spacecom chose U.S.-based Space Systems/Loral, a unit of Maxar Technologies, over IAI to build its Amos 8 satellite slated to be launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the second half of 2020. IAI has built nearly all of the previous Amos satellites but has never been in the business of operating satellites. IAI officials said they doubted the low $112 million price Loran has agreed to with Spacecom will result in a satellite that can meet the needs of the Israeli government, which is Spacecom’s main customer. Spacecom shares ended up 0.4% at 16.08 shekels ($4.57).  (Guy Erez)

Teva to close Ashdod plant after failing to find a buyer

Teva Pharmaceuticals said on Monday it plans to shutter one of two plants it operates in the Israeli port city of Ashdod within the year after the financially troubled drug maker failed to find a buyer for it. “This decision is painful and regrettable, but also unavoidable because much of the plant’s operations are not part of Teva’s core business, and because the manufacturing intravenous bags there, which accounts for about half of its operations, is not profitable,” Teva said. In addition to the IV bags, the plant makes liquid pharmaceuticals such as the children’s pain reliever Acamoli and disinfectant products for hospitals. The drug maker said it would begin talks soon with the Histadrut labor federation on severance terms, with the aim of axing half the 175 jobs at the plant by the end of this year and the remainder by March 2019.  Teva shares ended down 0.07% at 60 shekels ($17.05). (Yoram Gabison and Tali Herurti-Sover)

Therapix shares rally on successful trials for cannabis-based drug

Shares of Therapix Biosciences soared on Monday after the Israeli  company announced positive results on Monday from a Phase IIa trial of its cannabinoid-based drug to treat Tourette syndrome conducted at Yale University.  The clinical-stage pharmaceutical company said in a statement its drug candidate THX-110 “significantly improved symptoms over time” in adults with Tourette’s, which is characterized by involuntary movements and tics. “These results are of particular interest as the pharmacology of THX-110 appears to be distinct from existing medications for TS and may offer a unique option for treating these patients,” Chief Technology Officer Adi Zuloff-Shani said. Current available treatments are frequently inadequate or unsafe, she added. The company is also exploring the use of THX-110 for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and pain. It is also developing THX-130 for the treatment of mild cognitive impairment and traumatic brain injury, and THX-150 for infectious diseases. Therapix shares finished up 24.8% at 59 agorot (17 cents). (Reuters)

Hapoalim slates NIS 3 billion bond sale in shadow of U.S. tax probe

Bank Hapoalim said on Monday it plans a private placement of 3 billion shekels ($850 million) in bonds, including 1 billion CoCo bonds. The sale comes as the bank grapples with a U.S. investigation into allegations it helped clients evade American taxes. In early 2016, the bank had planned a similar offering of 3.2 billion shekels of regular and CoCo bonds but froze the process after it was forced to make a provision against a future penalty in the case. This time around, market sources said, Hapoalim is opting for a private placement rather than a public offering to avoid having to publish a prospectus. The 2 billion in regular bonds are for an average term of 5.4 years and carry an AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s Maalot and an Aaa from Midroog. The CoCos -- contingent convertible, bonds, which combine features of debt and equity -- are for an average term of 4.9 years. (Michael Rochvarger)

Tel Aviv shares post modest gains in very heavy trading

Tel Aviv shares finished Monday moderately higher in heavy trading, as Bezeq group shares soared. The benchmark TA-35 index finished up 0.15% at 1,418.91 points, while the TA-125 climbed nearly 0.3% to 1,293.72, on turnover of 2.06 billion shekels ($590 million). B Communications paced the gains for Bezeq group shares, rising 9% to close at 44.80 shekels. Internet Gold added 6.55% to 16.59 and Bezeq itself rose 3.9% to 4.45. Israel Chemicals was the volume leader, with more than 210 million shekels in shares changing hands, on a gain of 1.1% to end at 15.27. Fox rose 6.1% to 61.30 after Leumi Capital Markets raised its target price to 97 shekels from 90, confirming its Overweight rating. Ashtrom advanced 5% to 14.30 after Apax Capital Markets reiterated its Buy on the shares and boosted its target price to 91 from 63 shekels. Among losers, Frutarom sank back 1.1% to 315.50. (Guy Erez)