Israeli Company TowerJazz's Shares Climb as Chinese Project Goes Into Effect

Business in Brief | Gazit Globe’s Atrium unit seeks to sell off Russian assets ■ Wiessman sells 25% stake in Sonol to three investors for $20.7 million ■ Bezeq group companies pace gains for Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

TowerJazz chip-fabrication plant.
TowerJazz

TowerJazz shares climb as Chinese project goes into effect

Shares of TowerJazz rose sharply on Monday after the semiconductor company was paid the first installment in a deal to help develop a Chinese manufacturing facility. The Israeli company said China’s Tacoma group had made a first milestone payment of $18 million, making phase one of the framework agreement binding. Under the agreement, TowerJazz will provide technological expertise and operational consulting for a plant in Nanjing that will make 8-inch semiconductor wafers. TowerJazz will be entitled to up to 50% of the plant’s target output of 40,000 wafers per month. The facility will give us “a strategic footprint in China and the opportunity to extend our offerings in advanced specialty process technologies by enabling customers in China to optimize their product performance and time to market,” said TowerJazz President Itzhak Edrei. Shares of TowerJazz closed up 6.1% at 96.30 shekels ($26.62). (Omri Zerachovitz)

Gazit Globe’s Atrium unit seeks to sell off Russian assets

Atrium European Real Estate has put its Russian assets up for sale, sources at three property consultancies and a real estate developer said on Monday. A subsidiary of Israel’s largest real estate developer, Gazit Globe, Atrium is now actively looking for buyers for its Russian malls, the sources said. The company has been reviewing its Russian operations since 2014, when rental incomes were squeezed after the Russian economy was hit hard by a drop in oil prices and the ruble, as well as Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis. A spokesman for the company declined to comment. Atrium has seven shopping malls in Russia, two of which are in Moscow, with a gross leasable area of 241,400 square meters. The assets had a market value of 289 million euros ($340 million) on June 30, representing about 11% of the company’s total portfolio, according to company data. The company also has two plots in Russia worth 11.6 million euros. (Reuters)

Gov’t extends Alon D license for Delek, Noble 32 more months

A day after the partners of the Daniel licenses returned the rights to drill to the government, National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz on Monday agreed to extend rights to the Alon D license for an additional 32 months to Delek Drilling and Noble Energy. The license is at the northern end of Israel’s economic waters and close to the Karish and Tanin fields controlled by Greece’s Energean. Although Alon D lies within Israeli economic waters, the geological target which is believed to have potential gas reserves, crosses into the disputed area with Lebanon and as a result drilling was not undertaken before Delek and Noble’s rights to it expired in March 2016. The Antitrust Authority had wanted to force the partners to sell the license to encourage more competition in the natural gas market, and its stance on Steinetz’s latest move is unclear.  Shares of Delek Drilling, which owns 53% of Alon D, ended down 3% at 12.70 shekels ($3.51). (Avi Bar-Eli)

Wiessman sells 25% stake in Sonol to three investors for $20.7 million

David Wiessman, who once led the failed Blue Square group, has sold a 25% stake in his Sonol to three investors for 75 million shekels ($20.7 million), TheMarker has learned. Wiessman acquired the closely held energy and retail company a year ago for 365 million shekels and has since increased its profitability. Joey Schwebel, who controls the Gottex apparel group and is the local franchiser for global retailers including Zara and Pull & Bear, took half of the 25% stake and an option to raise it by 5% more. The other partners are Eli Azur, who controls The Jerusalem Post and other media outlets, and Shlomo Zohar, former chairman of Israel Discount Bank and today CEO of the property company ADO. The new partners, as well as Sonol’s improved performance under Wiessman, should enable the company to borrow more from banks against shares and perhaps lead to a share or bond offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. (Michael Rochvarger)

Bezeq group companies pace gains for Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Tel Aviv shares ended higher on Monday, with gains paced by Bezeq group companies. The TA-35 index of blue chips added 0.4% to end at 1,399.77 points, while the TA-125 climbed 0.25% to 1,259.60. Turnover was 1.24 billion shekels ($340 million). Bezeq rose 3.25% to end at 5.40 while its parent companies Internet Gold and B Communications rose 5.2% to 53.24 and 7.9% to 25.09, respectively. Electra Consumer Products extended Sunday’s rally on unexpectedly good earnings for its Golan Telecom unit, adding 3.4% to 74.98. On the down side, Teva Pharmaceuticals lost 1.8% to 61.51 and energy stocks reversed course from Sunday’s brief rally on a report that Shell would buy Israeli gas for its Egyptian LNG plant. Delek Drilling ended down 3% at 12.70 and Ratio Petroleum lost 2.4% to 86 agorot and Ratio 1.8% to 2.36. Bank Leumi lost 1.4% to end at 18.65. Erez Goldsmith quit as CEO of Poalim IBI late on Sunday, sending the underwriter’s shares down 6.3% to 13.51. (Omri Zerachovitz)