Business in Brief: January 10

Rami Levi to bid for Nof Zion; Makhteshim signs ChemChina deal; first week of 2011 record for funds; Possible generic rival to Copaxone.

nof zion 311 (photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
nof zion 311
(photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
Rami Levi to bid for Nof Zion
Rami Levi, the controlling shareholder in Rami Levi Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd., is heading a group of investors that is trying to outbid Palestinian businessman Bashar Al-Masri for Nof Zion, the east Jerusalem project of Digal Investment and Holdings Ltd. Rami Levi and his group of investors are expected to offer NIS 0.60 per Digal share.
Attorney David Hershkovitz, who is representing the investors headed by Levi, on Sunday presented the bid to Digal as part of a debt settlement. He made the offer during a bondholders meeting in the Tel Aviv offices of Digal’s lawyers.
So far, Digal has offered the company and its Nof Zion project to both Masri and overseas Jewish investors.
Makhteshim signs ChemChina deal
Makhteshim Agan Industries has signed the merger agreement with a subsidiary of the China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina), which will acquire the public’s holding in the company as well as 7 percent held by IDB Holding Corp. at a company value of $2.4 billion (not including treasury shares held by Makhteshim itself and its subsidiary). Makhteshim will become a private company, with ChemChina owning 60% and Koor owning the other 40%, the companies announced Sunday.
ChemChina will buy the Makhteshim shares in dollars, at $5.57 per share. Makhteshim’s public shareholders will receive $1.27b. for 53% of the company, and Koor will receive $168 million for 7%. ChemChina will also arrange for the provision of a $960m. nonrecourse loan to Koor through a Chinese bank, which will only be secured by a lien on Koor’s shares in Makhteshim.
Koor said it expects to report a capital gain of NIS 148m. on the sale, and it estimates the increase in its shareholders’ equity at NIS 49m.
First week of 2011 record for funds
Globes correspondent
In the first week of 2011, local mutual funds raised more capital as investors increased their appetite for risk, Meitav Investment House reported Sunday. Equitybased mutual funds raised an all-time high of capital last week, and corporate bond-based mutual funds and general mutual funds raised the highest amount of capital in two months, Meitav said.
Mutual funds raised NIS 1.4 billion in the first week of 2011, including a record NIS 270 million by equitybased mutual funds, and NIS 44m. by corporate-bonds funds. Money-market funds raised NIS 500m., and other mutual funds raised NIS 900m. Meitav said fixed-income mutual funds had raised capital as corporate fixedincome investments posted strong returns last week, while there were flat returns for government bonds.
In the first week of January, mutual funds’ aggregate assets under management rose NIS 2b.: a net NIS 1.4b. in capital raised and a NIS 600m. increase in value of assets, a 0.4 percent rise in the Meitav index of mutual funds.
Possible generic rival to Copaxone
A 30-month period stay of approval expires next week, marking the theoretical possibility of a launch of generic versions of Copaxone, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’s multiple sclerosis treatment. Copaxone, Teva’s ethical drug, has more than $3 billion in annual sales, accounting for a third of the company’s profit. Generic versions of the drug will slash the price and erode Copaxone’s market share. Under US law, when a generic drug company challenges a patent on an original drug, the drug’s manufacturer has the right to sue for a 30-month period stay of approval for marketing the generic versions, unless a court rules in favor of the generic company before the expiry of the stay of approval.
In the summer of 2008, Teva sued Novartis subsidiary Sandoz and Momenta Pharmaceuticals when they announced plans to develop a generic version of Copaxone. The 30- month stay of approval expires on January 16.