The Ticker / SodaStream Rallies After Profit Decline

Nice reports 26% rise in first-quarter profit; Nitzba wins TA bus station bidding; Ormat wins contract day after drop in profit; Kornit shares climb after strong earnings; Bank stocks lead TA-25 index higher.

Bloomberg

Shares of SodaStream, the Israeli maker of household soda machines, rebounded Thursday after tumbling on the back of first-quarter earnings a day before. In late morning New York trading the stock was up 8.2% at $19.30, more than erasing its sharp drop on Wednesday. Roth Capital raised its rating on SodaStream to Buy from neutral. On Wednesday, SodaStream had reported earnings, excluding restructuring costs, of 40 cents per share in the first quarter, beating the Zacks consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts of 6 cents by a whopping 567%, but the company also reported that revenue was down 23% on the year at $91.3 million and missed the Zacks consensus estimate of $100 million by 8.7%. More famous as a target for anti-Israel boycotts, SodaStream has been struggling to win back customers who are shunning the sweet, fizzy drinks it specializes in. “We’ve made good progress preparing for the launch of a completely new portfolio of great tasting, better for you sparkling water flavors later this year that we believe will resonate strongly with our consumer audience,” CEO Daniel Birnbaum said on Wednesday. (TheMarker)

Nice reports 26% rise in first-quarter profit

Nice Systems on Thursday reported a 26% rise in quarterly profit that topped Wall Street estimates, boosted by continued growth in its analytics products and cost-cutting measures. Nice said it earned 72 cents per diluted share excluding one-time items in the first quarter, up from 57 cents a year earlier while revenue grew 7.5% to $246.1 million. The company said revenue would have risen 10 percent if not for a negative impact from foreign exchange rates. Analysts had forecast Nice would earn 69 cents a share ex-items on revenue of $243.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. For the second quarter, Nice said revenue would be $249 million to $257 million and adjusted diluted EPS of 67-73 cents. It added that the company’s board had authorized a new share buyback program of up to $100 million. Nice shares closed up 4.8% at 246.90 shekels ($63.85). (Reuters)

Nitzba wins TA bus station bidding

Israeli property company Nitzba on Thursday won control of 52% of the commercial space in the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station in bidding that yielded a price more than double the valuation of the station’s trustees. The Lod District Court awarded the company the stake for 320 million shekels ($82.8 million), beating out the 315-million-shekel top counteroffer of businessman Avraham Luzon. The hulking structure in south Tel Aviv is one of the biggest commercial spaces in Israel, but the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station Company, which held 34,400 square meters of the building’s floorspace, went bankrupt three years ago. Nitzba had originally offered a winning 153 million-shekel bid for the space, but the court voided the auction by trustees and conducted a second one with a base price of 200 million shekels Nitzba shares dropped 2.4% to end at 63.87 shekels. (Nimrod Bousso)

Ormat wins contract day after drop in profit

Ormat Technology, a maker and operator of geothermal power plants, got a shot in the arm on Thursday, a day after reporting disappointing first-quarter results. The company said it signed a $98.8 million engineering, procurement and construction contract for a geothermal project in Chile. A day earlier, Ormat reported that net income attributable to shareholders dropped by more than half to $10 million or 21 cents a share in the first quarter, from $21.6 million or 47 cents a year earlier. Revenues for the three months declined 15.6% to $120.2 million from $142.4 million. The company attributed the revenue decline to lower natural gas and oil prices, reduced output at the company’s Puna power plant in Hawaii due to a hurricane and the timing of revenue recognition in the company’s product segment. Ormat shares were down 0.25% at $36.41 in New York late-morning local time. (TheMarker)

Kornit shares climb after strong earnings

Kornit saw its share power higher Thursday, just five weeks after going public in New York, after it reported big increases in sales for the first quarter. The maker of printers for the textile industry said net income, not counting one-time items, reached $900,000, or 8 cents a diluted share, turing around from a net loss of $1.6 million, or 18 cents, a year earlier — 8 cents above consensus estimates by Wall Street analysts. First-quarter sales climbed 32.8% to $17.6 million, it said. Kornit raised a net $75.9 million in an April 2 initial public offering at $10 a share. On Thursday, it shares were trading up 5.7% at $14.32 midafternoon local time in New York. (TheMarker)

Bank stocks lead TA-25 index higher

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange overcame two days of declining Wall Street shares to end higher for the day paced by bank shares. The benchmark TA-25 index finished up 0.65% at 1,631.78 points, while the TA-100 added 0.3% to 1,419.82, as 1.78 billion shekels ($459.8 million) in shares changed hands. Although the TA-25 lost 0.7% its year-to-date return has been a stunning 11.7%, already beating its 10.2% for all of 2014. Bank stocks were led higher by Israel Discount Bank, up 2.6% at 6.64, Bank Hapoalim with a 2.1% rise to 19.32 and First International Bank of Israel with a 1.9% increase to 43.80. But volume leader Teva Pharmaceuticals dropped 2.2% to finish at 231.60 after Bloomberg News reported that hedge fund manager John Paulson had boosted his stake in Mylan to 4.5%, a move that could complicate Teva’s unsolicited bid to acquire Mylan. Frutarom, whose shares have been bouncing around in both directions over the past several sessions, dropped close to 4% on Thursday to end at 150 shekels. (Dror Reich)