Business in Brief

Sometimes a tomato is the kindest contribution

With tomato prices skyrocketing, the chairman of the Chasdei Naomi charity, Rabbi Yosef Cohen, shifted gears and instead of straight fund-raising had his organization out soliciting contributions of tomatoes. Cohen said current prices led many families to forgo what is normally a staple of the Israeli diet. Chasdei Naomi received more than 2 tons of tomatoes and distributed them to needy families, he said. Usually, the charity hands out more than 300 tons of fruits and vegetables every month, plus other foodstuffs from 40 distribution centers around the country. (Amiram Cohen )

Bar Refaeli, the iPhone application

Want to take Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli with you wherever you go? There is now an official Bar Refaeli iPhone and iPod application available for $3.99 both in Israel and abroad. Users get previously unpublished pictures and video clips of Refaeli plus details about her life. The content will soon be available for downloading on other devices. This is the first such application devoted to a model for international distribution in four languages - Hebrew, Russian, Spanish and English. It was developed by the Israeli company Mobile1. (TheMarker Staff )

Comverse CFO solves problem, leaves

Now that he's submitted Comverse Technology's financial reports for 2005 through 2008, the firm's chief financial officer has decided to leave the company. According to sources at Comverse, Stephen Swad was brought in to clear up problems with the firm's financial reporting, and now that the process is nearing completion, he has decided to leave the company's New York offices and return to Washington, where his family lives. Swad, who became CFO in May 2009, will be replaced by Joel Legon, the company's chief accounting officer. Swad replaced Joseph Chinnici, who was on the job for less than a year. (Nir Zalik)

Sequoia Capital funds two clean-tech firms

Venture capital fund Sequoia Capital has entered the Israeli clean-tech field, investing about $9 million in Scodix, which produces digital presses for the printing industry, and another $4 million in AcousticEye, which develops products that emit sound waves for non-invasive tube inspection for the heat-exchange industry. Scodix, based in Rosh Ha'ayin, specializes in the post-printing stage and is capable of producing three-dimensional effects. AcousticEye was founded by Israelis Tal Pechter and Noam Amir. Its international headquarters are in the Netherlands. (Guy Grimland )

Blue Square fined for overcharging shoppers

Blue Square, which owns the Mega supermarket chain, was fined NIS 200,000 for charging shoppers more at the cash register than the prices tagged on the products. Petah Tikva Magistrates Court Judge Dvora Atar said the retailer misled consumers and also required the chain to pledge to pay NIS 100,000 more if it repeated the misdeed during the next two years. Eleven branch managers were each fined NIS 400. The claim followed consumer complaints to the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, which sent out investigators. In one case, Mega Ba'ir on Ahuza Street in Ra'anana was caught charging NIS 30.99 per kilo of Soglowek smoked turkey, though the meat had been marked at NIS 21.99. (Ruti Levy )

Is that Virgin Mobile knocking on our door?

An overseas company is expected to apply to operate a virtual cellular telephone network in Israel, the director general of the Communications Ministry, Eden Bar-Tal, said yesterday. Apparently, the company is Virgin Mobile. Virgin has been in touch with Israeli businessman Dudi Weissman about a joint venture in Israel. Virgin could provide the technical know-how, and Weissman access to the public through his Dor-Alon gas stations and Mega supermarkets. (Amitai Ziv )