Strauss Profits Zoom 150 Percent; Partner Moves Forward Alone

YERUSHALAYIM -
On the assembly line at the Strauss factory in Israel. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
On the assembly line at the Strauss factory in Israel. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

The Strauss Group made headlines on Thursday with its report of second-quarter net profits zooming 149 percent over the same period last year.

The Israeli food manufacturer that the quarterly earnings reach 78 million shekels; it also registered 1.9 billion shekels in sales, compared with 1.8 billion in the second quarter of last year, a 5.2 percent rise. The remarkable growth figures came despite the continued strengthening of the shekel. Negative foreign currency differentials totaled 87 million shekels, the company said.

Strauss coffee sales were also up, 11.5 percent, a rise attributed to higher coffee prices in Brazil, the company’s leading coffee market. Operating profit on coffee business soared 67 percent to NIS 83 million, compared with the second quarter of 2015. Coffee is about one third of Strauss’s total business.

Israeli mobile operator Partner Communications was another firm showing impressive numbers, reporting a jump in second-quarter profit boosted by a payment from French firm Orange, according to Reuters.

The logo of Partner, on the company's headquarters in Rosh Ha'ayin, near Tel Aviv. (Reuters/Amir Cohen/File)
The logo of Partner, on the company’s headquarters in Rosh Ha’ayin, near Tel Aviv. (Reuters/Amir Cohen/File)

Partner reported a profit of 26 million shekels ($7 million) in for April-June quarter, up from 9 million a year earlier. The quarter included income of 54 million shekels from a settlement with Orange.

Partner severed ties with Orange earlier this year after nearly two decades of operating under the Orange name amid a flap over a statement by the French CEO that appeared to capitulate to the BDS movement by pledging to withdraw from the Israeli market. Orange sought to patch up the affair, but Partner decided in the end to de-partner.

The Israeli operator received a 90 million euro ($101 million) settlement payment, which is to be recognized on a quarterly basis until the second quarter of 2017.

Partner is planning to deploy a fixed-line network using fibre optics and began a field test a month ago, connecting the first residential Internet customers at a speed of up to one gigabit per second.

“We expect to receive the support of the regulator to establish an advanced fixed-line infrastructure that will both open the market to competition and narrow the gap in Internet speeds …for the Israeli communications consumer, compared to the rest of the world,” Partner Chief Executive Isaac Benbenisti said.