Protests Help ClickSoftware Make Sales: Israel Overnight

ClickSoftware Technologies Ltd. will boost 2012 revenue by 18 percent as protests against rising living costs spur companies to buy the software developer’s customer-focused products, the chief executive officer said.

More than 90,000 Israelis joined a Facebook group last year calling for a boycott of cottage cheese, which cost almost 8 shekels ($2.14) for a 250-gram (0.6 pound) container, up from 4.91 shekels in 2006, when government price supervision was lifted. ClickSoftware tumbled the most since October 2009 in New York yesterday, the biggest decliner on the Bloomberg Israel-US Equity Index of the biggest Israeli stocks listed in the U.S. Israel’s benchmark TA-25 Index rose 0.4 percent at the close in Tel Aviv today.

“The growth drivers of ClickSoftware continue to be there,” CEO Moshe BenBassat said by phone from Netanya, Israel yesterday. “Part of it has to do with the need to improve customer service” as people increasingly use social media like Facebook to voice concerns and start boycotts, he said.

The company will “meet” annual guidance for revenue to rise to between $100 million to $105 million, from $87.1 million in 2011, BenBassat said.

ClickSoftware, which supplies power companies EON AG and PG&E Corp. with systems that help track orders, halted its biggest annual gain in three years yesterday after saying that first-quarter revenue probably fell short of analysts’ estimates. Protests in Israel against rising prices for everything from housing to chocolate that have spurred the government to focus on bolstering consumer-industry competition, will lift software sales this year, BenBassat said.

‘People Were Disappointed’

Revenue probably climbed 12 percent in the first three months of the 2012 to $21.6 million, ClickSoftware said in a PRNewswire statement yesterday, below the $22.5 million median of four analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Some of the contracts the company expected to sign during the first three months of 2011 were postponed until this quarter, BenBassat said.

“People were disappointed on the quarter,” Dov Rozenberg, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets said by phone from Tel Aviv yesterday. “That’s what happens when some of the deals get pushed out or delayed.”

Shares of the Petach Tikva, Israel-based company sank 16 percent yesterday to $10.56 in New York, the most in 2 1/2 years.

ClickSoftware, whose customer-service software facilitates communication with clients, is used by Partner Communications Co., Israel’s second-largest mobile phone services provider. The company will report first-quarter earnings on May 2.

ClickSoftware was cut to hold from buy by Maxim Group LLC yesterday.

MagicJack Gains

Israel, whose population of 7.8 million is similar in size to 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 firms per capita than the U.S.

The Bloomberg Israel-US Equity Index retreated 1.8 percent to 88.05 yesterday, the biggest one-day drop since Dec. 28.

MagicJack Vocaltec Ltd. climbed 11 percent to $23.07 in the U.S., the most in two months. The Netanya, Israel-based company, whose founders invented the technology to make phone calls over the Internet, said it expects first-quarter earnings of 26 cents per share, twice the 13-cent median of two analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

SodaStream Momentum

Ituran Location and Control Ltd. slipped 0.9 percent to 52.50 shekels, or the equivalent of $14.01, in Tel Aviv today after surging 5.1 percent yesterday. The New York shares climbed 3.7 percent to $14.03 after the Azur, Israel-based maker of systems for locating stolen vehicles said General Motors Brazil will offer its anti-theft services in Chevrolet vehicles.

Israel’s bourse shuts early this week and is closed April 12 for the Passover holiday.

SodaStream International Ltd., an Airport City, Israel-based maker of homemade soda machines, rose 0.6 percent to $33.50 yesterday in New York.

“The results of our March retailer survey indicate continued strong momentum for SodaStream products,” Jim Chartier, an analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co. in New York, wrote in an e-mailed report yesterday, citing a survey of more than 2,000 stores.

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