The Ticker: State-owned Israel Ports Files for First-ever Bond Issue

Mellanox turns in better-than-expected results for its first quarter ■ Foamix raises $16 million from New York fund OrbiMed ■ Tel Aviv shares up ahead of holiday weekend

An electronic board displaying market data is seen at the entrance of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, in Tel Aviv, Israel January 29, 2017.
BAZ RATNER רויטרס

State-owned Israel Ports files for first-ever bond issue

The state-owned firm Israel Ports filed a draft prospectus on Monday to issue its first publicly traded bonds – a total of 2.7 billion shekels ($770 million) in three series of terms ranging from 5.5 to 11 years. The bonds have gotten a AAA rating by the Maalot agency and Aa1 with a Stable outlook by Midroog. The company, which is responsible for developing Israel’s state-owned ports as well as two private ones under construction, said it would use the proceeds from the bond sale to retire bank loans. More than a year ago plans for a bond sale aroused opposition from the ports’ powerful labor unions concerned about its impact on jobs. But in April 2017 the Israel Corporations Authority won their consent after assuring the Histadrut labor federation that the bond issues would not affect contract terms for employees. The state-owned ports’ near monopoly, however, will soon be broken by private competitors run by Chinese and Dutch companies. (Jasmin Gueta

Mellanox turns in better-than-expected results for its first quarter

Mellanox, the Israeli semiconductor company under pressure by the activist investor Starboard to improve its performance, turned in better-than-expected first quarter results on Tuesday. Adjusted for one-time factors, earnings came to 98 cents a share, surpassing the average estimate of 83 cents by analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research. Revenue came to $251 million, surpassing forecasts for $244.5 million, and was slightly ahead of the company’s own forecast made in February for a maximum of $250 million. Gross margins were 69%, down from 71.7% a year earlier but in the range Mellanox had predicted in February. For the current quarter, the company said it expected revenue in the $255 million to $265 million range, ahead of forecasts of $249.1 million by analysts surveyed by Zacks. Starboard, which has amassed a 10.6% stake in the company, is seeking to replace the board. Mellanox shares were down 0.45% at $78 at early morning local time in New York. (TheMarker Staff

Foamix raises $16 million from New York fund OrbiMed

Foamix Pharmaceuticals, which is developing skin treatments based on propriety foam technology, agreed on Monday to sell a 7.5% stake in its stock to OrbiMed for $16 million. The New York-based fund will pay $5.50 a share, a 4.4% premium on the company’s Nasdaq-traded share price before the deal was announced. As part of the deal, OrbiMed agreed not to sell the shares or take any other action with the stock for 60 days from the date of the purchase agreement. Formed in 2003, Foamix has raised $172 million in three share offerings at prices ranging from $6 to $9.50 a share, but just over a year ago it received a big blow when Phase III clinical trials of its FMX-101 acne drug yielded disappointing results, causing the stock price to plunge more than 40% to about its current level.  However, the company is conducting more trials. Foamix shares were down 0.4% at $5.39 early morning local time Tuesday in New York. (Yoram Gabison)

Tel Aviv shares up ahead of holiday weekend

Tel Aviv shares changed direction in the early afternoon on Tuesday to end higher before breaking for the long Independence Day weekend. Trading resumes on Sunday. The benchmark TA-35 index rose 0.55% to end at 1,484.42 points, while the TA-125 added 0.4% to 1,346.37, on turnover of 1.11 billion shekels. Among the biggest gainers, Frutarom closed 4.3% up at 370 shekels and Partner Communications rose 3.3% to 16.70 shekels. Ormat Technologies gained 3% to 205.70 shekels after it said it would start construction of two 20-megawatt battery energy storage systems in New Jersey in a build-own-operate contract. Fox advanced 1.55% to 64.27 shekels after saying it was in talks to buy half of the baby product retailer Shilav. In foreign currency trading, the dollar and euro gained sharply on the shekel. The greenback strengthened 0.7% to a representative rate of 3.5270 shekel while the euro added almost 0.8% to 4.3623 shekels. (Guy Erez)