With Protalix worth $801m, chairman Frost cuts stake

Philip Frost is no longer a party at interest in Protalix.

It is no wonder that several parties at interest in Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc. (AMEX:PLX; TASE: PLX) have sold shares lately. The drug development company is one of the great Israeli value creators, reaching a market cap of $801 million, and at this price parties at interest always find reasons to liquidate parts of their stakes.

One such investor is Philip Frost, the chairman of both Protalix and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA), and one of the first investors in Protalix, when it merged with a stock market shell that he controlled. In a statement to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday, Protalix stated that Frost sold 1.7 million shares over the past two months at $8.74-10.34 per share, for a total of $16.3 million.

Frost invests in Protalix through Frost Gamma Investments, which Protalix states now owns 3.8% of the company. In other words, Frost is no longer a party at interest in Protalix, and it will no longer be possible to monitor his movements in the company.

Frost invested $24 million in Protalix five years ago, becoming one of its largest investors. He is known as a major philanthropist. According to the SEC filing, he donated 800,000 Protalix shares, currently worth around $8 million, to various charities. Donating shares to charities has increasingly become a habit in the US capital market; Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) executives recently did this.

Protalix's share price fell 1.4% on the American Stock Exchange on Friday to $9.86, and fell 2.5% by midday on the TASE today to NIS 35.05.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 24, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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