Partner and Cellcom Jump on Bets Customer Defections Over
Partner Communications Company Ltd. (PTNR) and Cellcom Israel Ltd. (CEL), Israel’s two largest mobile-phone providers, rallied in New York and Tel Aviv on speculation their market share will stabilize.
Partner surged 2.5 percent to 27.70 shekels, or the equivalent of $7.77, the highest level since May 2012, at 10:44 a.m. in Tel Aviv. The shares advanced 9.9 percent to $7.85 in New York yesterday. Cellcom jumped 2.1 percent to 39.07 shekels, or the equivalent of $10.96, after gaining 4.7 percent to $10.92 in the U.S. The companies led gains on the benchmark TA-25 Index, which advanced 0.1 percent to 1,230.90.
Cellcom, the nation’s largest mobile operator, and No. 2 Partner lost market share and reduced prices over the past year after Hot Telecommunication System Ltd. and Golan Telecom Ltd. began offering services at discounted rates. Partner’s first-quarter revenue dropped 27 percent, while Cellcom’s net income declined 61 percent. The companies will report second-quarter earnings Aug. 14, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“People are expecting that the worst is now behind us, so you’ll see at least stability,” Zach Herzog, the head of international sales at Psagot Investment House Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “Partner and Cellcom both have seen severe declines in all parameters, so stability would be a good thing. That’s what people are starting to sort of point to, if you look at the way the stock’s trading.”
Partner has advanced 25 percent this month in New York, while Cellcom gained 18 percent. The Bloomberg Israel-US measure rose for a fourth day to 96.48, the highest level in almost two years.
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