The Israel Securities Authority has opened an investigation into the sharp rises in the share price of real estate companyAfrica-Israel Investments (TASE: AFIL), Channel 2 reported last night. The Authority stressed however that there was no certainty that any irregularity would be discovered, and that it was entirely possible that trading in the share was absolutely proper.
Africa-Israel is controlled by Lev Leviev. Its share price has shot up 98.9% since the beginning of April, and 143.3% since the beginning of the year, according to data from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange website. With returns like these, there is no doubt that the stock is hot property on the market, as witness the huge volumes of shares changing hands.
Foreign and institutional investors have been jumping on the stock, with considerable demand also for subsidiaries Africa Israel Properties and engineering and construction company Danya Cebus, traded in Tel Aviv, and AFI Development, traded in London, the vehicle for the group's real estate interests in Russia. Trading volumes in AFI have lately been more than twice as high as the long-term average.
Investors we spoke to, who refused to be named, said that after the sharp fall in Africa-Israel's share price in 2008, they had identified an opportunity, and were afraid of being left out.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on April 17, 2009
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