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January 17, 2012
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January 17, 2012
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Economic News from Israel

  • Tel Aviv-based Gazit-Globe’s US subsidiary, Equity One, has sold 36 shopping centers in the Southeast to Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII for $473.1 million with most of them in Atlanta, Tampa, Orlando, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Maryland.  However, the company continues to own 1 center in Alabama, 27 in Georgia, 1 in Mississippi, 11 in North Carolina, and 3 in South Carolina.
  • Google has launched its voice search for Android and Apple’s iOS in Hebrew and Arabic.  The upgrade is significant since until now, voice identification software could not handle Hebrew and had to cope with Hebrew-accented English.
  • Cumming, Georgia-based mBeach Software has entered into a binding MOU to acquire 51% of Tel Aviv-based IRIS Marketing which has developed global markets in Central Africa and India.  Previously, mBeach had acquired Tel Aviv-based Skin Cancer Scanning, a medical device company pioneering the development and commercialization of a revolutionary and proprietary imaging system for the early detection and diagnosis of skin cancer.
  • Coca-Cola strengthened its position in the Israeli market with 2.6% growth in sales, and market share rose from 39.3% in 2010 to 39.5% in 2011 despite lower than average temperatures and the social protests that affected soft drink sales overall.  In 2011, Coca-Cola Israel (The Central Bottling Company) continued to hold 5 out of the 10 best-selling soft drinks in Israel.
  • Apple confirmed its completed acquisition of Herzliya Pituach-based Anobit, a developer of flash storage solutions.  The company has also decided to open a development center in Israel focusing on semiconductors that will be led by Aharon Aharon, a veteran player in Israel’s high tech industry.
  • The European Union has granted 2 million Euros for a biodiversity project led by Hadassah College of Jerusalem in a partnerships with the Environmental Research Center of the Palestinian Authority, Leitat Technological Center in Spain, the Hellenic Regional Center in Greece, Rutgers University, and North Carolina State University.  The goal of the project is to identify endemic plants from the Mediterranean area which contain compounds that may be valuable for industrial products such as pharmaceuticals, food additives, and cosmetics.
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Akamai has acquired Kfar Neter-based Cotendo  for $268 million.  The company develops website and mobile site acceleration solutions to help enterprises improve the performance of their websites and simplify content encryption management.  Cotendo was one of 4 Israeli companies presenting at AICC’s “Innovations in Cloud Computing” videoconference event in October 2010.
  • The Israel’s GDP rose by 4.8% in 2011 following a similar rise in 2010 and 0.8% in 2009, the year of emergence from the global recession, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.  However, the Bank of Israel has cut its 2012 growth forecast to 2.8% from 3.2%, and its interest rate will be 2.25% at the end of the year, down from the current 2.75%.
  • Israel’s unemployment rate fell to 5% of the civilian labor force in October 2011, an all-time low, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.  The figures are surprising, given that economic activity is declining, including by labor-intensive export-oriented manufacturing.  However, the CBS points out that the unemployment rate is the economic indicator with the longest time lag in its response to changes in activity.

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