Rami Levi (RMLI), Israel’s third-largest supermarket operator, declined the most in more than two months as Citigroup Inc. (C) led analyst downgrades, saying the share price already reflects the value expected in the next year.
Rami Levi Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd. shares dropped 3.7 percent, the most since March 18, to 178.2 shekels at 1:08 p.m. in Tel Aviv. Citigroup reduced its rating to neutral and kept its price target at 185 shekels, according to a note to investors today. Psagot Investment House Ltd. in Tel Aviv cut its rating on the shares to hold. The benchmark TA-25 Index declined 0.2 percent.
The Jerusalem-based discount grocer, started in 1976 from a stall in the city’s Mahane Yehuda market, has rallied 40 percent this year and is trading at 17.4 times estimated earnings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with 13.6 times for its largest competitor Shufersal Ltd. (SAE)
“We have not changed our view on the strong fundamentals of this business,” analyst Michael Klahr wrote in e-mailed note today. “The stock has run up far and fast and looks fully valued versus the risks on a 12-month view.”
The company plans to nearly double its outlets from the current 26 by the end of 2015, according to an investor presentation last month. Michael Dell’s MSD European Opportunity fund and Fidelity Management have bought stakes in the grocer in the past two months.
“The good news around the stock” is reflected in the current price, Psagot’s Ilanit Sherf said in an e-mailed note.
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