NEW YORK ¿ The stock options repricing affair is behind Koor Industries (Nasdaq:KOR), but while in the headlines it hurt the Israeli conglomerate's image, admits CFO Yuval Yanai.
Koor has been starring in the business section of the press for several reasons. Its chief executive Jonathan Kolber is stepping down as chairman of affiliated company ECI Telecom (Nasdaq:ECIL), for one thing. For another, Koor's financial statement for the third quarter revealed massive write-offs, partly due to the 34.8% holding in ECI.
Above all, though, was the outcry when Koor's board of directors resolved to lower the exercise price of stock options granted to executives from a range of $114 to $118, to $24. "It is accepted practice to reprice options. We were the only ones to get pounced on," Yanai said yesterday.
Last week TheMarker.com broke the news that Kolber had decided to waive the repricing of his options. He may have felt that key Koor shareholder Bank Hapoalim (21%) would block the move anyway.
Koor is participating in the CIBC World Markets Sixth Annual Israeli-Related Equities Conference now taking place in New York's East Side Marriott.
CIBC set up five meetings between institutionals and Koor's representatives, headed by no less than Kolber himself and chairman Ilan Biran.
Yanai says he feels a resurgence of investor interest in the conglomerate, which he attributes to the rally by ECI Telecom in the third quarter. "Other portfolio companies are doing well, such as (agrochemicals producer) Makhteshim Agan Industries, and mainly (defense contractor) Elisra," he adds.
He notes that there have been no changes at Koor itself, in that it hasn't made any new investments, preferring to spend the year focusing on its portfolio companies.