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Economic News from Israel

  • Sony Corporation has invested $10 million in Herzliya Pituach-based Rainbow Medical with an interest in expanding its medical devices operations.  Rainbow Medical is a medical device accelerator built around the inventions of serial entrepreneur Yossi Gross.  Other investors include Medtronic, Abbott Laboratories, and Birmingham, Alabama-based PowerTen Ventures.
  • Ra’anana-based Celeno Communications was a winner in Red Herring’s Top 100 Europe Award for innovation and technology in its industry.  The company’s technology supports the multi-screen revolution by insuring high performance and reliable Wi-Fi throughout the home to multiple devices.  Suwanee, Georgia-based Arris is a customer of Celeno.
  • GE has opened a new R&D center in Herzliya Pituach that will focus on software instead of the company’s main operations in Israel that are involved in the development of medical devices through GE Healthcare.
  • Ness Ziona-based Prolor Biotech has been acquired by Miami-based Opko Health for $480 million.  Prolor’s long-acting version of human growth hormone has successfully completed four clinical trials, including a Phase II trial in adults with growth hormone deficiency, which showed the company’s version can be injected once a week instead of the daily injections needed for the current treatment.
  • Petach Tikva-based Cellebrite has invested $3 million in Yokneam-based CommuniTake, a developer of remote access to mobile devices solutions.  The deal enables Cellebrite to offer multi-channel diagnostics for smartphones that will include CommuniTake’s remote control, diagnostics, and support technology for call center agents.  CommuniTake’s US office is in Atlanta.
  • Tel Aviv-based Tene Investment Funds, which specializes in kibbutz industries, sold 21.3% of its 23% stake in Kibbutz Sdot Yam-based Caesarstone for $170 million.  Caesarstone manufactures engineered quartz surfaces, and is in the process of expanding production in the US.
  • Tognum America has unveiled a $40 million research & development facility, located in Aiken County South Carolina, that can simulate climate, altitude, and working conditions for diesel engines anywhere in the world.  The company builds power packs for Israel’s Merkava 4 Main Battle Tank at this facility.
  • Rehovot-based IDEA Biomedical will explore the adaptation of its Hermes WiScan into the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, a component of the National Institutes of Health.  The company’s first US sale was with MUSC in Charleston.
  • Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has exercised its option to buy the remaining stake of Tefen-based Iscar from the Wertheimer family for $2 billion.  In 2006, they acquired the other 80% for $4 billion, the largest acquisition Buffett had ever made outside the US.
  • Ra’anana-based NICE Systems’ global situation management solution will be deployed at Denver International Airport to enhance security and safety.  SAIC, the system integrator for the project, expects the first phase to be completed in late 2013.  NICE maintains a regional office in Alpharetta, GA.
  • Ramat Gan-based ClickTale has secured a $17 million growth round led by Amadeus Capital Partners as well as Goldrock Capital and Viola Credit.  The company is a leader in customer experience analytics whose technology allows companies to see their customers’ true-to-life online experience at all levels of detail.
  • Ninety venture capital funds made first investments in Israel and Israel-related companies in 2012 according to the IVC Research Center.  Of them, 19 made 3 or more investments with the most active being Carmel Ventures which made 11 first investments in 2012 compared with only 3 first investments in 2011.
  • Israel is ranked the second most educated country in the world by the OECD in an index of the highest proportion of college-educated adult residents.  Topping the chart is Canada, and the US is fourth.
  • Since its independence 65 years ago, Israel’s volume of exports has grown 15,000 times from some $6 million in 1948 to some $91 billion in 2012 according to the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute.  This is the sixth highest growth rate in the world during that period.
  • Natural gas is predicted to add 1% to Israel’s GDP in 2012 and even more in the coming years according to a prediction by the CEO of Noble Energy, the Texas-based firm that is operating the offshore explorations.  The Israeli government is recommending exports of up to 50% of the natural gas from every field that is being mined along the Israeli coast.

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