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March 11, 2013
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April 5, 2013
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Economic News from Israel

  • Rehovot-based Sapiens has filed with the SEC to raise $40 million on NASDAQ.  The insurance software company has a large operation in Cary, North Carolina.
  • Delek Group, controlled by Yitzhak Tshuva, will sell up to 12% of Delek US Holdings for some $250 million as part of the secondary offering on Wall Street.  Delek US is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee and operates two refineries as well as a chain of travel centers / convenience stores.
  • Tel Aviv-based electric car venture Better Place has sold its Hawaii operations to Optimization Technologies which will operate the battery charging stations in the state.  Better Place has almost 700 drivers in Hawaii and 77 charge spots with 154 charge points at public locations in Oahu, Maui, and The Big Island.
  • Upper Tiberias-based Spuntech Industries, a manufacturer of non-woven fabrics with its major US operation in Roxboro, North Carolina, has received a takeover bid from one of its competitors.  Israel is a world power in non-wovens including Shalag, Albaad, and Avgol — all of which have manufacturing operations in North Carolina.
  • The Office of the Chief Scientist has approved several new hi-tech incubators, two of which will be established in the south.  Jerusalem Venture Partners is establishing an incubator in Beersheva together with BG Negev Technologies and Applications Ltd., the technology transfer company of Ben Gurion UniversityGitam BBDO, former Cellcom VP Adi Cohen, and Shufersal will establish an incubator in Ashdod that will focus on New Media.
  • Tel Aviv-based JANVEST Technologies has announced the closing of a $5 million angel fund to be invested in 10-12 early stage Israeli technology start-ups.  Former Atlantan Brian Rosenzweig, now based in Philadelphia, is a partner in the fund.
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts will build a hotel and residential complex in the Old City of Jaffa on land formerly owned by the Catholic Church that includes an 1879 building originally used as the French Hospital.  This will be the company’s first W Hotel brand in Israel.
  • Citi Global Markets has opened a global financial data intelligence lab in Israel as part of their technology innovation center.  Dr. Oren Glickman has been hired to have the lab’s research team that will hire local talent with academic skills and expertise in related fields such as machine learning and data mining.
  • Tel Aviv-based Asquith Israel has opened their first fund and made an investment in Ra’anana-based Phoebus Energy whose heat pump technology reduces dependence on diesel generators to heat water by as much as 85%.
  • HSBC has raised its 2013 growth for Israel from 2.8% to 3.3% despite the slowing of GDP growth and because of the start-up of natural gas production in Israel.
  • Israel’s population crossed the 8 million threshold over Passover, and with 6 million Jews, the country is the world’s largest Jewish center.  The remainder of the population is comprised of 1.6 million Arabs, 350,000 non-Arabs Christians, and others, mostly olim or relatives or relatives of olim from the former USSR.
  • Demand in Israel for Internet and software engineers rose by 12% and 10% respectively in the first quarter of 2013 according to Etosia Human Resources.
  • Israel ranks 16th out of 187 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index for 2012, and was the highest-ranked country in the Middle East with the closest Arab country, oil-rich Qatar, in 36th place.
  • The number of Israeli start-ups raising capital has fallen by 25% in the past 5 years in contrast with 70% increase worldwide, according to an analysis by SiSense Ltd.  The average financing round by Israeli companies was $6.9 million, 30% less than the global average.
  • Private equity deals in Israel fell 10% in 2012 with 46 deals totaling $2.6 billion, down from $2.9 billion invested in 63 deals in 2011 according to the IVC Research Center and Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Halevy, Greenberg and Co.  The survey covered 82 private equity funds.
  • Israel’s unemployment rate slipped to 6.5% in January from 6.8% in December amid a decline in the labor force, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.  Israel’s economy is slowing as a result of the global turndown, and grew an estimated 3.2% in 2012 after a 4.6% pace in 2011.
  • Ben-Gurion Airport handled over 1 million arriving and departing passengers on 6,500 flights during the month around Passover this year, 3% more than during the corresponding period in 2012 according to the Israel Airports Authority.  The preferred destinations this year for Israelis were the US, France, Germany, the UK, and Italy.

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