Pharma Focus Fabulous for Israel ETFs

Increased mergers and acquisitions in the pharmaceuticals space has been a boon for healthcare-heavy Israel exchange traded funds.

Year-to-date, the Market Vectors Israel ETF (NYSEArca: ISRA) and the iShares MSCI Israel Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EIS) are up an average of 11.6%, an advantage of 260 basis points over the MSCI EAFE Index.

The two ETFs were jolted higher last week on news that generic drugmaker Mylan (NYSE: MYL) offered to acquire Israeli rival Perrigo (NYSE: PRGO) for $205 per share, or $28.86 billion. At the start of trading April 8, the day Mylan announced its offer for Perrigo, the latter was the second-largest in ISRA at a weight of 12.5%. [Healthcare Weights Lift International ETFs]

However, there is potentially more to the story for the Israel ETFs, particularly ISRA, which tracks the BlueStar Israel Global Index (BIGI). Although shares of Perrigo hover near Mylan’s $205 per share offer price, Perrigo management Perrigo management has yet to respond to the offer from Mylan.

“Although Perrigo is domiciled in Ireland, the company has a dual listing on the NYSE and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), the latter of which automatically qualifies it for inclusion in BIGI,” according to BlueStar Indexes. “The TASE listing is a legacy of Perrigo’s 2004 acquisition of Israel-based Agis Pharmaceuticals.The Irish domicile is a result of Perrgio’s 2013 acquisition of Elan Pharmaceuticals in a ‘tax inversion’  deal.”

Shares of Teva Pharmaceuticals (NasdaqGS: TEVA), one of the largest generic drugmakers in the world, have also risen since Mylan announced its bid for Perrigo. There has been some analyst and media speculation that Teva could make a move on Mylan. Teva, which previously announced its intent to go shopping, is the largest holding in EIS at a weight of 26.1%. Teva is ISRA’s second-largest holding at a weight of 13%. [Teva Could Lift Pharma ETFs]