Bezeq, Hot Gain as Fiber-Network Tender Deferred: Tel Aviv Mover

Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp. (BEZQ) and Hot Telecommunication System Ltd. (HOT), the country’s two fixed-line providers, advanced after a panel postponed a tender for a project aimed to boost competition.

Bezeq shares climbed as much as 2.6 percent before closing 0.5 percent higher at 4.36 shekels, the highest level since July 11. Shares of Yakum, Israel-based Hot, which also provides internet, wireless and cable-television services, rose 3 percent to 34.01 shekels, the highest since June 20. The benchmark TA-25 index dropped 0.8 percent.

A government panel postponed the deadline for submissions to choose an investor and controlling shareholder in a fiber-to- the-home (FTTH) telecommunications network project that will be set up jointly with Israel Electric Corp.

“The postponement is good news for Bezeq as it raises the odds the venture may not materialize, even if the government is adamant to promote it,” Gilad Alper, a senior analyst at Excellence Nessuah Investment House Ltd. in Ramat Gan, said today by phone.

Bezeq’s stock has dropped 36 percent so far this year and is the third-worst performer in the benchmark TA-25 index as the nation’s communications ministry moves to increase competition in both the wireless and fixed-line markets in which it operates. The government is seeking to introduce a “wholesale” fixed-line market and a FTTH network, which would be set up by Israel Electric and a company still to be selected, to compete with existing fixed-line operators.

Hot has declined 28 percent this year, compared with a 2.5 percent decline for the market’s benchmark index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shoshanna Solomon in Tel Aviv at ssolomon22@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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