The Ticker: Sonol CEO Questioned in Tax Probe

Ability shares drop after it delays earnings; Stratasys rises on smaller loss than expected.

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Sonol gas station.Credit: Nir Keidar

Sonol CEO questioned in tax probe

Nir Galili, the CEO of energy company Sonol, was questioned and released with restrictions three weeks ago as part of a tax probe against his former employer, the Shlomo Group. Galili is the third executive at closely held Shlomo Group to be questioned after Asi Shmeltzer, its chairman and son of its founder Shlomo Shmeltzer, and Zvi Leibushor, a former CEO of S. Shlomo Insurance and now a senior executive at Shirbit Insurance were arrested for alleged tax violations worth tens of millions of shekels. Investigators allege that Galili, when he was CEO of S. Shlomo Holdings, was part of scheme to reduce value-added tax liabilities by transferring insurance premiums collected in the name of the group’s insurance unit by other units of the group. They are also suspected of money laundering and other violations. (Efrat Neuman)

Stratasys rises on smaller loss than expected

Shares of Stratasys rallied yesterday after the maker of 3-D printers turned in a much smaller loss for the fourth quarter than analysts had expected. Stratatsys said its net loss for the quarter after discounting for one-time items was $700,000, or 1 cent for each diluted share, compared with net profit of $24.9 million, or 48 cents, a year ago. Revenues were down about 20% from $217.1 million a year earlier to $173.4 million. But both figures were much better than the market had predicted: Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research had expected a loss of 11 cents a share and revenues of $165.2 million. After seeing sales decline to $690 million in 2015, Stratasys said yesterday it expected them to grow to somewhere in the range of $700 million to $730 million and show a net profit after one-time items of between 17 cents to 43 cents a share. Startasys shares were up 12.4% at $23.47 in late morning local time in New York. (TheMarker Staff)

Ability shares drop after it delays earnings 

Shares of Ability, whose communications intelligence technology is used by governments for surveillance and cybersecurity, fell sharply yesterday after it said it was postponing its fourth-quarter earnings just hours before they were to be released. The company, which only began publicly trading in the last few months on the Nasdaq and on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, didn’t say why it was delaying nor did it provide a new date for the release. “As this would be the company’s first earnings release following its becoming a public company, we decided to delay the announcement until such time that the audit of our financial results is complete,” Chief Financial Officer Ari Levin said. Shares of Ability closed down 10.3% to 25.31 shekels ($6.51). (Uri Tomer) 

Tel Aviv pressured by weak global markets

Tel Aviv shares ended mixed yesterday after a weak start was undermined first by falling prices in Europe and then on Wall Street. The benchmark TA-25 index scratched out a gain for the day of 0.1% to end at 1,449.75 points, but the broader TA-100 index ended almost unchanged at 1,248.44 points and most market sectors were lower by closing time. Turnover was light at just over 1 billion shekels ($260 million). Among blue chips, Bezeq finished down 2.9% at 8.72 while Israel Chemicals added 2.6% to 16.91. Allot Communications ended 5,.2% higher at 19.36 and SodaStream added 4.9% to 60.76. (Uri Tomer)