ISRAELI ECONOMY GREW BY 6.4% IN Q4 2007
Despite global slowdown, Israel’s economic growth accelerated to an annualized 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter, the fastest pace in a year. Growth picked up from a revised 5.9% in the previous three months with exports jumping 15.5%, as reported by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. Business gross domestic product increased at an 8.6% rate
64 start-ups generated over 1500 appointments at the Israeli pavilion
The Mobile World Congress 2008 in Barcelona last month attracted huge interest by the throngs of visitors and participants. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, through its Commercial Attaché network, set up a unique brokerage mechanism which greatly contributed to the arranging of over 1500 appointments. The 64 companies were gathered together by the Israel Mobile Association (IMA) and the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute (IEICI).
Israeli exhibitors totaled 88, following the United States (208), Britain (188), France (146) and Germany (111).
There are over 1000 communications active start-ups in Israel today, a growth of over 30% in the last two years.
Veolia Environment will invest $15 million in a new environmental studies campus within the Ruppin Academic Center in Emek Hefer, which will become Veolia’s center for Training and R&D.
Veolia has been present in Israel since 1992. It is a strategic partner of Israeli IDE Technologies, together designing and building the world’s largest reverse osmosis seawater desalination plant in Ashkelon, Israel in 2005.
Veolia has over 33,000 employees in over 105 countries and has an annual turnover of $50 billion.
The first collaborative research at Ruppin will examine biological contamination levels of drinking and seawater.
Online Auction Giant’s 2nd purchase in Israel since 2005
Fraud Sciences‘ technology is designed to uncover fraudulent credit card purchases by verifying that the customer making the purchase is in fact the card’s owner. The company has developed a technology that differentiates between real and fraudulent transactions with 99.9% accuracy.
EBay and its subsidiary, e-commerce enabler PayPal plan to use Fraud Science’s risk tools and analytics to expose scams and deceptions targeted at their companies, and to accelerate the development of the next generation of fraud detection tools.
Ebay Inc, with net revenues of $7.67 billion in 2007, purchased Israeli Shopping.com, claimed to be the world’s first price comparison website, in 2005.
Fraud Sciences was founded in Tel Aviv in 2006 with a total investment of $7 million.
UK infrastructure investment company, Ecofin, is buying 40% of Israeli solar energy technology company, Solel Solar Systems Ltd, at a cost of $105 million.
Solel, the world’s largest solar thermal company, designs, manufactures and installs cost-efficient solar heating & air-conditioning systems, using reflectors to concentrate the sun’s energy into electricity. Last year, Solel entered into an agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company to build the world’s largest solar plant to be established in California’s Mojave Desert.
Ecofin Ltd is a London based investment managing company specializing in the utilities
and infrastructure sectors with approximately $5.4 million of assets under management.
“We are delighted to make this investment in Solel and look forward to supporting the company through a period of rapid growth” said Bernard Lambilliotte, CIO of Ecofin.
European medical devices group pays $95 million for Israeli dental implant company
Esthetic dental solutions company Nobel Biocare, has purchased AlphaBio, a leading Israeli dental implant company.
With this acquisition, Nobel Biocare reinforces its global position by gaining access to some of the fastest-growing market segments in implant dentistry, such as orthodontic mini-screws and small diameter implants. At the same time, the company will gain a market leadership position in Israel and further expand its position in Russia, Poland and Latin America.
According to Domenico Scala, CEO of Nobel Biocare, “AlphaBio’s leading position in Israel, its attractive pipeline and strong innovation skills with excellent people will complement our innovation capabilities.”
Nobel Biocare recorded revenue of EUR 665.9 million in 2007, up 15.4% since 2006 and employs over 2200 employees.
John Deere and Company has purchased 75.1% of Plastro Irrigation Systems from Kibbutz Gvat for approximately $70 million.
John Deere, a leading US manufacturer of farm equipment, employs over 500,000 people worldwide and has 2007 net global sales and revenues of $24,082 billion.
Plastro Irrigation Systems provides effective solutions for enhancing crop quality and yield while significantly lowering the costs of water and nutrients. It operates 13 subsidiaries and maintains 100 representatives worldwide.
YAHOO ACQUIRES ISRAELI FOXYTUNES
Yahoo has bought Israel-based FoxyTunes, a browser plug-in for Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer that enables users to search for music and lyrics online, and to control their media player from within the browser. The purchase amount was estimated at $30-40 million, providing 1000% return to its original investors.
This is part of a larger move that Yahoo is making regarding its music properties. It is Yahoo’s second investment in Israel in the last few months after acquiring Walla! the first Israeli internet portal, in December 2007, and using it as a basis for the a new Yahoo R&D Center in Israel.
FoxyTunes, founded in 2005, developed an application that adds a browser toolbar which enables users to perform media-player operations such as volume control, jump forward, back or stop.
Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent among the award’s nominees
RAD Data Communications, a company of the Rad Group received the award for its La-130 cell site gateway, a mobile backhaul solution that ensures high quality of service for real-time voice, video and data transmission.
Established in 1981, the Rad Group is a family of independent companies serving specialized markets within the networking and telecommunications industries. The Group has spawned over 185 companies, 8 IPOs and 19 M&As, and is currently comprised of 15 companies.
Historic change is the first in 13 years.
Fitch Ratings upgraded its foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) for Israel from ‘A minus’ to ‘A’, and raised its local currency IDR from ‘A’ to ‘A+’. Fitch also upgraded its Country Ceiling for Israel from ‘A+’ to ‘AA minus’.
Fitch Head of Middle East and Africa Sovereign Ratings, Richard Fox, said, “The fiscal framework put in place since the recession of 2001-02, combined with other important economic and structural reforms that have revitalized growth, has delivered a cumulative four-year fall in the debt ratio by over 20% of GDP, to reach an all time low of just over 80% last year.”
Fitch’s upgrade follows the upgrade by International Standard & Poor’s in December 2007, S&P lifted Israel’s long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating from A- to A with a stable outlook, Israel’s long-term local currency to AA from A+ and its short-term local currency rating from A-1 to A-1+.
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