From the Leadership
November 13, 2012
November 14, 2012
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Economic News from Israel

  • Lod-based Maman Cargo Terminals and Handling has acquired the UPS Israel franchise for NIS 146 million from Chen Lamdan and Livnat families who own OPSI, the authorized services contractor for UPS in Israel.  The operation has 900 employees, and the acquisition is a strategic change for Maman which will help the company in its tender bid for renewing cargo handling at the Ben-Gurion Airport in 2014.
  • Caesarea-based Caesarstone Sdot Yam Ltd. announced plans to expand production of its granite surfaces in the US and Israel and an investment of $88 million that will include a 5th production line and a new factory in the United States.  The Southeast is a potential location for the expansion.
  • Harbor Group International, partly owned by Tel Aviv-based Electra Real Estate and US and Israeli investors, has bought a block of 1,600 rental apartments in Nashville, Tennessee for $131 million from Lehman Brothers’ receiver.  The property is 96% occupied with rents of $700-$900 per apartment.
  • Yokneam-based Given Imaging has announced that it is considering a merger or sale of the company, and is actively exploring proposals.  Board Chair Israel Makov and two independent directors are overseeing the process with Barclays Bank assisting.  The company’s North American headquarters is in Atlanta.
  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer visited Israel last week, meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Finance Minister Steinitz to discuss the strategic cooperation to foster computing technology.  A renewed memorandum of understanding was signed between the Government Chief Information Officer and Microsoft Israel General Manager.
  • Ramat Gan-based EarlySense has obtained FDA approval for its bedside and central display system that includes monitoring of oxygen level in the blood.  This system is currently installed at hospitals and rehabilitation centers in the US and Europe.  The company also raised $15 million from its current investors Pitango, ProSeed, and Docor.
  • Hod Hasharon-based Red Bend Software is set to be bought by IBM for a reported $200-$250 million according to news reports and high-tech market sources.  The company provides standard-based products and solutions for software management, device management, and mobile virtualization that work on any mobile phone and connected device uniformly, efficiently, and securely over the air.  If completed, this will be IBM’s 12th acquisition of Israeli companies.
  • El Al Israel Airlines is adding flights to North America in its 2013 winter schedule, up to 23 weekly flights from New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto from the 21 weekly flights last winter.  There will be 17 weekly flights to New York.
  • Tel Aviv-based Surpass Medical is being acquired by Michigan-based Stryker Corporation for $100 million in cash and up to an additional $35 million in milestone payments.  The Israeli company is developing a flow diversion stent technology to treat brain aneurysms.
  • Tel Aviv-based C-B4 has won the “Pitch” competition that concluded the Ernst & Young Israel 2012 Journey Conference in Tel Aviv last month.  The company will receive a package of services worth $20,000 from Google Israel as well as financial and legal advice from prominent Tel Aviv firms.  C-B4 presented at AICC’s “Big Data” I-3 event in September.  It has developed a system for analyzing big databases for retail and e-commerce customers.
  • Minnesota-based Carlson Wagonlit Travel has acquired Lod-based WorldMate (formerly MobiMate) for $20 million.  The company offers an app for international travelers and a trip itinerary planner.  Its Board Chairman is Eli Barak, Chair of AICC’s Israeli Advisory Board.
  • The Ministry of Finance transferred an additional NIS $120 million to the Office of the Chief Scientist to support its seed company program after the regular NIS $1.1 billion budget for the year ran out during the summer.  The Ministry said the budget supplement was in response to the worrying decline in private financing for seed-stage companies.
  • Israel’s economy is expected to grow by 3.5% in 2012 after 4.6% growth in 2011 and 5% growth in 2010 according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.  However, the Manufacturers Association of Israel believes that 2013 will see Israel’s growth rate slow further with 2.7% GDP growth and 7.7% unemployment next year.  This prediction follows 2,300 manufacturing job losses over the summer.
  • A majority of incoming tourists to Israel in 2011 were Christians, comprising 58%, with Jews comprising 25% of of visitors.  Particularly high numbers of Christian tourists came from Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, and Italy.
  • The United States has extended nearly $4 billion in loan guarantees to Israel through 2016.  As part of the deal, Israel must hit certain economic targets including the size of federal budget deficits and the levels of government spending.  The US first approved $9 billion in loan guarantees during the 2002 recession, allowing Israel to sell bonds internationally with the backing of the United States.
  • According to a study conducted by the OECD, Israel ranks second on the list of countries with the highest proportion of college-educated adult residents.  Canada was first on the list with other countries including Japan, United States, New Zealand, South Korea, United Kingdom, Finland, Australia, and Ireland.
  • Israeli Life Science companies accounted for the largest share of venture capital investment in January-September 2012 according to the IVC Research Center and KPMG Somekh Chaiken Israel.  They raised $387 million, up from $320 million in the corresponding months of 2011.  Internet companies were in 2nd place, raising $271 million.

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