The Ticker: Nice Beats Forecast for Fourth-quarter Profit

Modiin buys 25% of California energy exploration project; BioLight files to sell shares for Nasdaq trading.

Stock prices flash on an electronic screen displaying world clocks at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.

Nice beats forecast for fourth-quarter profit

Nice Systems yesterday reported a higher-than-expected 12% increase in fourth-quarter net profit and forecast further growth in 2016. Nice said it earned $1.09 per diluted share excluding one-time items in the quarter, up from 97 cents a year earlier. Revenue grew 5.4% to $273.6 million, or up 8.3% excluding foreign currency effects. Analysts had forecast earnings of $1.03 a share on revenue of $271.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue for 2015 climbed 6% to $927 million, boosting earnings to $3.18 a share, up 17% year-over-year. For the first quarter, Nice said it expects revenue of $220 million to $230 million and adjusted EPS of 71 cents to 77 cents. For all of 2016, it projects revenue of $995 million to $1.015 billion and adjusted EPS of $3.38 to $3.52. The outlook includes its acquisition of Nexidia, which is expected to close by the end of the quarter. Nice shares ended 2.1% up 218 shekels ($56.05). (Reuters)

Modiin buys 25% of California energy exploration project

Modiin Energy, the energy-exploration company whose shares have skyrocketed over the last weeks for no apparent reason, may have finally provided the answer. The company said yesterday it had reached a nonbinding agreement to buy a 25% stake in a license to explore for oil and gas in California from a U.S. company. Modiin said it expected to spend $3 million to explore for oil and gas in an unnamed area but one where oil has been found before and infrastructure ready to connect a successful well to refineries. Modiin’s CEO and executive vice chairman Ron Maor said he wasn’t deterred by the state of the oil market. “The drop in petroleum prices has created opportunities to acquire attractive oil and gas assets in the United States. We plan to keep active in oil and gas outside of Israel,” he said. The market was apparently unimpressed: Modiin shares, which had jumped 1,800% since the start of the year, ended down 48% at 16.60 shekels ($4.27) Thursday. (Eran Azran)

BioLight files to sell shares for Nasdaq trading

BioLight, which develops treatments for glaucoma, dry eye syndrome and age-related macular degeneration, said yesterday it has filed to sell up to $10 million shares on Wall Street and begin trading on the Nasdaq. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the loss-making company with $9.4 million in cash on hand as of September said the proceeds would be used to cover costs for the next 18 months. None of BioLight’s products have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration, the company warned. Leading shareholders include Dilip Shanghvi, founder of Sun Pharmaceuticals, India’s largest pharmaceutical company, and Israel Makov, former CEO of Teva Pharmaceuticals. Shares of BioLight, which is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and over the counter in New York, fell 4.4% to end at 1.02 shekels (26 cents). The company plans a 1-to-25 reverse share split February 22.