Tel Aviv stock exchange.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel Chemicals, one of the largest publicly traded companies on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, denied reports Thursday that it was considering delisting from the exchange.
Calcalist reported that the company, the 8th largest by market capitalization on the TASE, was considering delisting in order to give a boost to its performance on the New York Stock Exchange, where it has had a cross-listing since 2014.
Concerns over the potash market, the report said, also raised concerns that the Canadian Potash Corporation that holds significant numbers of ICL shares would decide to sell them off. If it did, Israel Chemicals would prefer that the shares trade on the NYSE, where they could more easily be absorbed.
The company, however, denies the claims, saying "The issue is currently not being discussed in the company," and that nobody had raised the issue of delisting.
If so, it will be a relief for the TASE and the Israel Securities Authority, which have been fighting an uphill battle to keep Israel's stock exchange an attractive one for local companies.
In 2013, for example, the exchange took a blow when Mellanox, then the 6th largest company traded on the TASE, decided to delist. It, too, was cross-listed, and continues to trade on the NASDAQ exchange. The company's CEO Eyal Waldman complained of overly burdensome regulation in Israel.
The ISA has been pushing for deregulation and a host of reforms to make the TASE more attractive for investors, and its chairman Shmuel Hauser has repeatedly warned that failure to act could result in further delistings.
Just Wednesday, he told a conference that "it's no fictional scenario that big companies such as Teva will choose to delist their shares. If these kinds of companies and others think that there is no future to the capital markets in Israel, it will be a significant threat to the Israeli economy."
Epsilon Investments CEO Idan Azoulay said the report should be a warning sign to the exchange's leadership.
"The mismanagement of recent years is having an effect on the liquidity premium that investors demand, which result in the the local resources, mainly shares, having a lower valuation than in foreign markets," he said.