The Ticker: Israel Chemicals Sales Rose as Wildfires Boosted Demand for Its Flame Retardants

Holmes Place Israel launches roadshow ahead of initial public offering ■ Wix shares whacked after quarterly profits come up short of forecasts ■ Hamat agrees to buy 80% of HeziBank for 76 million shekels ■ Biomedical shares lead Tel Aviv Stock Exchange lower

Wix.com offices in Tel Aviv, on July 4, 2016
BAZ RATNER/REUTERS

Israel Chemicals sales rose as wildfires boosted demand for its flame retardants

Israel Chemicals swung to a profit in the third quarter after intense wildfires in North America and Europe for its fire-safety products. ICL posted quarterly net income of $84 million, compared with a $340 million loss a year earlier. Revenue rose 4.1% to $1.4 billion, which the company said was driven by increased demand for fire-safety products. That more than offset weaker sales in phosphate fertilizers, though ICL said it benefited from favorable pricing in potash and bromine based products relative to a year ago. External potash sales increased 2% to $1.32 billion as the average price for potash jumped 9% to $217 per metric ton. “We remain committed to balancing our business by growing our specialty businesses which, for the first time, accounted for over half of our sales as well as nearly 70% of our operating profit in the third quarter,” said acting CEO Asher Grinbaum. ICL shares ended 0.95% higher at 14.89 shekels ($4.24). (Reuters)

Holmes Place Israel launches roadshow ahead of initial public offering

Holmes Place Israel launched its roadshow Wednesday for its initial public offering, for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange before the end of the year. The IPO will value the fitness-club operator at up to 350 million shekels ($99.7 million). Investors will be offered a 40% stake in the company via as much as 100 million shekels of shares held by existing shareholders Green Lantern Fund and the Fisher family, who founded the business, and another 30 million shekels in new shares being issued by the company itself. Holmes Place Israel will use the proceeds to expand its chain of 34 fitness centers around the country with 113,000 members and 20 smaller centers inside corporate offices and institutions. The IPO valuation looks pricey versus shareholders’ equity of 92.9 million shekels and profitability in recent years. The company posted a net profit of 6.5 million shekels in 2016 and 3.2 million shekels in 2015. (Eran Azran) 

Wix shares whacked after quarterly profits come up short of forecasts 

Shares of Wix.com plunged on Wall Street after the makers of tools for building websites posting sharply lower than expected third-quarter profits. Excluding one-time items, profit was 1 cent a share, turning around from a loss of 4 cents a year earlier, as revenue climbed 47% to $111 million. But earning per share was far short of the 13 cents analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected, even if revenue came out slightly ahead of the $110 million they had forecast. Chief Financial Officer Lior Shemesh attributed the profit miss to the company’s opting to use its revenue to market its new Wix Code product and for research and development. Boosted by growing numbers of users for its paid web design product Wix ADI, the company boosted its full-year revenue project by $1 milion to as much as $424 million. Wix shares were down 13.5% at $60 late-morning local time in New York. (Omri Zerachovitz and Reuters)

Hamat agrees to buy 80% of HeziBank for 76 million shekels

Hamat, the maker of faucets and plumbing fixtures, said Wednesday it has agreed to buy 80% of ceramic tile maker HeziBank for 76 million shekels ($21.6 million). The price includes seller HeziBank assuming 80% of the company’s debt and turning over 80% of cash on hand when the acquisition in completed, as well as an option from both sides for Hamat to buy the remaining within a year after the initial acquisition is completed. Hezi Bank, who founded the firm with his wife Margalit 50 years ago, will stay on as CEO. The company has annual revenues of about 150 million shekels and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about 20 million shekels. “The acquisition will be synergistic and ensure growing profits over the long term. It will also strength Hamat’s position as the leader in the industry,” said Hamat CEO Roy Regerman. Hamat shares ended up 0.08% at 13.08 shekels. (Eran Azran)

Biomedical shares lead Tel Aviv Stock Exchange lower

Biomedical shares led the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange lower in light trading on Wednesday. The benchmark TA-35 index lost 0.3% by closing to 1,3419.14 points, while the broader TA-125 index ended down 0.2% at 1,298.57 points. Turnover was 922 million shekels ($263 million). After spiking higher on Monday, Teva Pharmaceutical Industriess marked a second day of big losses, falling 2.3% to 40.60 shekels. Other biomedical stocks were lower, too. Mylan fell 2.75% to 127.70, Mazor Robotics dropped 2.9% to 104.70 and Opko Health lost 2.4% to 22.89. Other major losers included El Al Airlines, which shed 4% to end at 1.70 after the sudden resignation announcement by CEO David Maimon on Tuesday. But energy shares rallied, with Ratio gaining 2.4% to 2.28 and Delek Drilling adding 1.5% to 9.88. TowerJazz led gainers on the TA-125 index, advancing 4.5% to 118.50, a day after turning in third-quarter earnings above analysts’ expectations. On Wednesday, three analysts raised their target price for the share. (Uri Tomer)