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Israel Discount Bank Slumps as Effort to Sell U.S. Unit Fails

Israel Discount Bank Ltd. declined to a four-month low on speculation the country’s third-largest lender will have to sell shares to meet capital requirements after the sale of its U.S. unit failed.

The bank’s shares fell 2.6 percent to 6.11 shekels at the close in Tel Aviv, the lowest level since Sept. 12. The stock advanced 7.9 percent last year compared with a 16 percent gain for the Tel Aviv Banking Index. Discount hasn’t accepted any offers for its New York-based Discount Bancorp Inc. unit, according to a filing today with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

“The shares advanced last year on speculation the sale will happen but it appears now that the bank didn’t manage to get a satisfactory price,‘‘ Micha Goldberg, the head of equity research at Excellence Nessuah in Ramat Gan, said by phone today. ‘‘This raises the probability the bank will have to sell shares to raise funds to meet its capital adequacy ratios.’’

Israeli banks need to raise capital and cut costs to cope with lower interest rates, tougher competition and bigger reserve requirements, Supervisor of Banks David Zaken said in a July interview with Bloomberg.

Israel Discount must increase its Tier 1 capital ratio, reserves that protect depositors from certain losses, to 9 percent by 2015 from 7.5 percent, according to Basel III regulations.

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