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Nice Premium Widens After Meetings: Israel Overnight

Nice Systems Ltd., an Israeli maker of analytical telecommunications software, climbed in New York to widen the premium over its Tel Aviv shares to the biggest in two months after company officials met with investors in Europe.

Nice officials repeated sales guidance from February, according to Jamia Jasper, president of AmerIsrael Capital Management LLC in New York and an adviser to the American Israeli Shared Value Fund. Dafna Gruber, Nice’s chief financial officer, said on a Feb. 15 conference call that 2012 revenue would total between $930 million and $950 million. Sales totaled $793.8 million in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The meetings were held in Dublin this week, said Erik Snider, a spokesman for Nice in Tel Aviv, who declined to provide further details.

Shares of Nice advanced 2.3 percent to $35.34 yesterday in New York to trade 1.42 percent over its Israeli stock, the most since Jan 5. Nice rose 0.7 percent to 132.50 shekels in Tel Aviv, or the equivalent of $34.84.

“The guidance was essentially a reiteration of prior guidance which is always good,” said Jasper, who didn’t attend the meetings and said she learned of the discussion from an Oppenheimer & Co. report. “Investors were probably relieved to hear that the company is making progress with sales at its recently acquired Actimize subsidiary.”

Web Attacks

Nice is increasing sales of its Internet security applications as companies from Sony Corp. to Citigroup have been targeted in web attacks in the past year. Oppenheimer analyst Shaul Eyal reiterated on March 6 a 12-month price target of $45 price on the shares, which have added 2.6 percent this year, after slipping 1.3 percent in 2011.

“They’ve become an industry leader in developing a technology that seems very useful in fighting terrorism,” Jasper said in a phone interview yesterday. “This is a company with no debt and trading at a very favorable valuation.”

Nice trades at 14.5 times analysts’ earnings estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Bridgewater, New Jersey-based Synchronoss Technologies Inc., which develops e-commerce transaction technologies, trades at 47.8 times estimated earnings.

Allot Jumps

The Bloomberg Israel-US 25 Index of the largest U.S.-traded Israeli companies gained 0.6 percent to 83.87 yesterday as 17 stocks on the gauge advanced. Allot Communications Ltd., an Israeli networking equipment manufacturer, jumped the most in three weeks, adding 3.1 percent to $17.90.

SodaStream International Ltd., an Airport City-based manufacturer of homemade soda machines, fell 0.4 percent to $34.90, extending its decline to 27 percent since reporting a 6.2 percent increase in fourth-quarter net income on Feb. 29 that missed analyst estimates. The company also said global soda maker unit sales rose 8 percent to 767,000 in the fourth quarter, after increasing 60 percent in the third.

SodaStream’s Yonah Lloyd, executive director of corporate development and communication, said clients including Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. made holiday-season purchases in the third quarter of 2011.

SodaStream ‘Misperception’

“There may be a misperception regarding our unit sales numbers,” Lloyd said in a phone interview from Tel Aviv. “Growth was strong, 45 percent for the quarter despite the fact that key national accounts who bought heavily in the fourth quarter in 2010 made the bulk of their purchases in the third quarter of 2011.”

Lloyd said sales would increase 28 percent this year. SodaStream revenue grew 39 percent in 2011 and 53 percent in 2010.

Israel’s TA-25 Index rose 0.3 percent to 1,079.59 yesterday. Israeli markets will be closed today for the Jewish Purim holiday.

Israel, whose population of 7.8 million is similar in size Switzerland’s, has about 60 companies traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the most of any country outside the U.S. after China. The nation is also home to more startup companies per capita than the U.S.

ClickSoftware Technologies Ltd., a Petach Tikva, Israel-based maker of order-tracking programs, advanced 3.3 percent to $11.49 in New York, one cent short of an all-time high. The company had its initial public offering in New York in June 2000.

Cellcom Israel Ltd. dropped 3.1 percent to $12.30 as Israel’s largest mobile-phone company said yesterday that fourth-quarter net income fell to 76 million shekels from 319 million shekels a year earlier. The company’s shares have fallen 27 percent this year as Israel issues licenses to new mobile-phone operators in a bid to bolster competition.

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