Markets in Brief

Teva talent gained just $35m from stock options in 2011

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries directors and managers sold $225 million worth of the company’s stock during 2011, according to the company’s financial statement for the year. They exercised 2.3 million stock options at a gain of just $35 million, compared with gaining $222 million in 2010 and $161 million in 2009. The workers waived exercising 2.1 million options in 2011, three times the number of options they allowed to expire unused the year before. In other words, Teva stock didn’t do well last year: Note that the exercise price of the unexercised options was higher than $45.50, which was the average share price in 2011. Teva allocated workers 9.6 million stock options in 2011, an increase of 57% from the year before, at an average exercise price of $42.56. ‏(Yoram Gabison‏)

Protonix case against Teva, Sun nearing conclusion

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ moment of truth is approaching, at least in the case of Pfizer unit Wyeth’s suit against the Indian drug company, Sun Pharma, and Teva, for alleged breach of a patent protecting blockbuster drug Protonix. That is used to treat erosive esophagitis and other conditions caused by rising stomach acid. Sales of the drug totaled $2.5 billion in the 12 months before Teva and Sun launched their generic versions in December 2007, after challenging the validity of Wyeth’s patents. Neither waited for the court to rule, risking the court ruling for Wyeth. Indeed, in April 2010, a jury ruled against Teva and Sun. An appellate court upheld that verdict in July 2010. Teva appealed again: The court is also hearing a claim by Teva and Sun that Wyeth made improper use of patents protecting Protonix. Wyeth claims to have been caused $2.1 billion in damage, Sun told the court last week. Sun’s share of that damage is $960 million. Sun added that it had grounds to argue that Wyeth’s claim was excessive. Meanwhile, in its 2011 financial statement, Teva stated that the chance of it losing the Protonix case had increased, but remain below 50%. It added that it had sold $1.1 billion worth of generic Protonix. ‏(Yoram Gabison‏)

Migdal buying 20% of malls development firm

After no less than a year of negotiations, the Migdal insurance company is joining forces with malls development company BIG Shopping Centers. Migdal is buying 20% of the shares in BIG USA, a fully-owned subsidiary of BIG, which it is paying for mostly with its customers’ money. How much of it? $30 million, an investment that prices BIG USA at $120 million pre-money, and $150 million post-investment. That’s about 30% above the value at which BIG thought to float the U.S. subsidiary in Tel Aviv in late 2010. BIG USA has holdings in 25 strip malls in the United States, mainly in California. Some it owns outright and in some cases it shares ownership with Kimco. The malls are believed to be worth between $450 million to $500 million. ‏(Michael Rochvarger‏)

Caesarstone files for IPO on Nasdaq

Caesarstone Sdot-Yam, which makes engineered quartz slabs, filed with regulators on Thursday to raise up to $115 million in an initial public offering. JP Morgan Securities, Barclays Capital and Credit Suisse Securities will act as joint bookrunning managers to the offering, the company told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a preliminary prospectus. Caesarstone was founded in 1987 by Kibbutz Sdot-Yam, which owns about 70% of the company’s shares, according to the filing. The company intends to list its common stock on the Nasdaq under the symbol CSTE. Caesarstone’s quartz slab products are sold in 42 countries and are used in residential and commercial buildings as countertops and other types of surfaces. The company had revenues of $259.7 million in 2011. The filing did not reveal how many shares the company plans to sell or their expected price. The amount of money a company says it plans to raise in its first IPO filings is used to calculate registration fees. The final size of the IPO could be different. ‏(Reuters‏)

El Al to lease sold engines from buyer

El Al Israel Airlines yesterday announced an agreement to sell two engines, one made in 1998 and one in 2000, to an international company that owns engines and leases them out. Indeed, the airline will be leasing back the engines from the buyer for seven years, with options to extend. The price it’s getting is based on the engines price lists, which factor in their condition. El Al will be making monthly payments, which include a cushion if the engines need fixing up during the lease term. El Al says the move is part of its “rationalization” drive for its fleet and equipment, and should improve cash flow. ‏(Vadim Sviderski‏)

Biondvax: Good results from universal flu shot

Biondvax reports success in Phase II clinical trials of its universal anti-flu shot, Multimeric-001. Carried out at two medical centers in Israel, Hadassah in Jerusalem and Ichilov in Tel Aviv, the tests focused on seniors aged 65 and up. THe primary objective was to test the immunization’s safety, and secondarily, its efficacy − the reaction of the body’s immune system. Biondvax says the shot proved to be safe, in that it did not stimulate significant side effects compared with a control group. It also stimulated two branches of the immune system, in spurring the production of antibodies, and spurring a white-blood cell response to infection. When administered before the usual winter flu shot ‏(made of antibodies to proteins found in the viral wall‏), Multimeric-001 proved to enhance the usual shot’s efficacy, Biondvax said. ‏(Yoram Gabison‏)