Business in Brief: August 16

Fischer grants license to Barclays; Stock portfolios fell 3% in Q2; Rami Levy gives up on Nof Zion; Facebook Deals to launch in Israel.

Tel Aviv brokers (photo credit: REUTERS)
Tel Aviv brokers
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Fischer grants license to Barclays
Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer granted Barclays Bank a foreign bank license on Sunday to open a branch in Israel. The license is a necessary condition for the bank to become a Tel Aviv Stock Exchange member, which it applied for on Thursday.
Barclays will become the fifth foreign bank with a branch in Israel, following Citigroup HSBC, Holding, BNP Paribas and the State Bank of India.
Barclays has had a representative office in Israel since 2008, and the license will enable to expand it local operations.

Stock portfolios fell 3% in Q2
Israelis lost NIS 56 billion on stocks during the second quarter of 2011, reducing the value of the public's financial assets portfolio by 3 percent to NIS 2.5 trillion at the end of June. The drop follows a 0.4% fall in the value of the portfolio in the first quarter.
The value of TASE-listed stocks fell by 10%, or NIS 54 billion, during the second quarter to NIS 465 billion. The value of foreign stocks fell by 3%, or NIS 4.4 billion, partly because of the shekel's appreciation against the dollar.
The proportion of stocks as a share of the public's financial assets portfolio fell to 52%. The value of the public's stock portfolio fell by NIS 72 billion in the first half. The loss does not include the plunges in the TASE and foreign stock markets in August.
Rami Levy gives up on Nof Zion
Rami Levy has withdrawn from negotiations to acquire the Nof Zion residential project in East Jerusalem owned by Digal Investment and Holdings. The supermarket owner and his Australian Jewish partner Kevin Bermeister planned to acquire Digal's assets, including Nof Zion and Kilas Investment Corporation, for NIS 123 million.
Rami Levy's withdrawal could reopen the door for Palestinian developer Bashar al-Masri to make a new bid for Nof Zion.
In a notice to the TASE, Digal said that the buyers informed it, “There were material differences between the information provided by Digal about the assets up for sale and the findings of the due diligence.” Digal denies the allegations.
Digal also said that, on the basis of the investors' offer in January, it had reached a debt settlement with its largest creditor, Bank Leumi, which the bank approved in March.
Facebook Deals to launch in Israel
Facebook will enter the Israeli coupons market in September with the launch of its location-based service Facebook Deals. Facebook Deals was launched in the US in November 2010 and in Canada and Europe early this year. The service is part of Facebook's mobile Places application for persons who click on Check-In the locations of participating stores. A yellow sign will appear next to stores offering deals and their details.
Facebook Deals offers a range of coupons, giving businesses a wider space than offered by most coupons sites now available in Israel. Individual Deal for new and current customers, which is equivalent to the regular coupons that have been available in Israel for over year; Loyalty Deal, offered to customers only after a certain number of checkins up to a maximum of 20; Friend Deal, generated by multiple check-ins; and Charity Deal, which offers a donation by the customer to a charity of the business's choice.
Kika invests NIS 100m. in Haifa store
Austrian furniture and housewares chain Kika will invest NIS 100 million to build its second store in Haifa.
Construction will begin in three months at Hutzot Hamifratz owned by Melisron and Ashtrom Properties.
kika will open its first store at Kiryat Sapir in Netanya in early September, on land also owned by Ashtrom Properties.
The 17,000-square meter Haifa store is due to open in the fourth quarter of 2013.