As every month, VC Cafe is re-posting the “Invest in Israel” Newsletter, published by the investment promotion center of Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, which offers many helpful tools for prospecting investors. For the Invest in Israel archive, click here.
Below are the headlines for January 2012:
ESTIMATES SHOW ISRAELI GDP ROSE 4.8% IN 2011
According to preliminary estimates, Israel’s gross domestic product grew by 4.8% in 2011, following a similar rise in 2010, and a 0.8% rise in 2009, when Israel crawled back out of the recession. GDP per capita is expected to have risen 2.9% to $31,100.
MOODYS REITERATES “A1 – STABLE” RATING FOR ISRAEL
The rating is “underpinned by the country’s high levels of economic, institutional and financial strength and moderate event risk.” – Moody’sOne of the world’s three largest rating agencies, Moody’s, reiterated its A1 rating on Israel’s domestic and foreign currency bonds with a “Stable” outlook for the Jewish state.
“The Israeli economy is resilient and dynamic, and the macroeconomic policy framework is coherent,” the rating agency noted in the report. “The high-tech exports-based economic model underpins favorable medium- to long-term growth prospects, though it is subject to cyclical fluctuations in world trade.”
APPLE TO LAUNCH ISRAEL R&D CENTER
Apple Inc. has decided to open its first ever development center outside of its California headquarters in Israel. The new center in Israel will focus on semiconductors
Though a global innovator, Apple in 2010 only invested 2% of its revenue in R&D, much lower than other high-tech companies. The company currently has only one technology development center, which is at their headquarters in Cupertino, California.
Apple has hired Aharon Aharon, a veteran player in Israel’s high tech industry, to lead the new development center.
FLASH COMPANY ANOBIT TO BE APPLE’S FIRST ISRAELI ACQUISITION
Leading computing company Apple is acquiring Anobit, a developer of flash controllers and smartphone memory enhancement technology.
Anobit developed a chip which enhances flash drive performance through signal processing (DSP). Anobit previously supplied its technology to South Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the world’s largest supplier of flash memory processors, and Samsung Electronics. Hynix’s integration of Anobit’s solutions, has allowed the company to lower the flash memory costs for smartphones, digital cameras, and tablet computers.
Anobit has two product lines: NAND-based embedded flash controllers for smartphones, music players, tablets, and other products; and flash memory Genesis Solid State Drives (SSD), which are designed to replace computers’ magnetic hard drives that are the current memory mainstay of PCs and storage systems, such as those developed by IBM Corporation and EMC Corporation.
AKAMAI BUYS ISRAELI COTENDO FOR $268 MLN
Akamai Technologies Inc., a Cambridge company that manages Web traffic for some of the Internet’s biggest sites, is acquiring website and mobile acceleration technology vendor Cotendo. Though a small competitor, Cotendo had been making big strides speeding up Web access on mobile phones, a fast growing segment of Akamai’s business.
Following the acquisition, Akamai will set up a research and development center in Israel.
“Cotendo’s employees will find their places as employees of Akamai, and thus we will continue to grow,” Ronni Zehavi, who is CEO of the company, said.
CORNELL, TECHNION WIN NYCTECH CAMPUS PROJECT
Cornell University and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have been chosen to build a cutting-edge NYC Tech Campus that will serve as a global magnet for tech talent and entrepreneurship. The NYCTech Campus will combine cutting-edge technologies to create one of the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient campuses in the world.
Cornell will offer Master and Doctoral degrees in areas such as Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Information Science and Engineering, and the campus will also offer innovative Technion-Cornell dual Master of Applied Sciences degrees.
New York City will provide $100 million for the site’s site infrastructure, construction, and related costs. Construction of the first phase of campus is scheduled to begin in 2015.
US DELEGATIONS TO ISRAEL SEEK STRONGER BILATERAL TIES
Two high-level American delegations reached out to Israeli business leaders in December as they explored cooperation in renewable energy, aerospace, medicine and other technologies.
The American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) brought 25 heads of business representative bodies from American and Canadian cities to Israel, while a separate group of seven elected officials from New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Hawaii also visited the country.
Both delegations noted that they see endless opportunities for business collaboration with Israel, and spoke with admiration of the innovations they saw during their visit.
ISRAEL CORP. ACQUIRES CHILEAN POWER COMPANY
Israel Corporation has acquired Chilean power company Central Tierra Amarilla SA, which owns a 155-megawatt power station that uses open cycle diesel generators.
Israel Corp subsidiary IC Power will own 75% of Central Tierra Amarilla and a Chilean company will own 25%. Located north of Santiago, the power station mainly functions as a reserve energy source for local mines.
Israel Corp. Power subsidiary Inkia Energy Ltd., based in Lima, Peru, owns power stations producing 3,000 megawatts in seven countries: Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Panama, El Salvador, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.
TOURISM TO ISRAEL IN NOVEMBER AT RECORD HIGH
Tourism to Israel in November rose 2% from the corresponding month in 2010 to 316,000 arrivals, and was the highest number of tourists for any November.
As part of an initiative to boost the tourism sector, including construction, renovation and conversion of existing buildings into hotels, six new hotels will open in Jerusalem, Haifa, Rosh Pina, and the Western Galilee and hotels in the Galilee and Tiberias will be enlarged. Two buildings in Haifa will be converted into hotels. The projects will add 470 new hotel rooms and see 300 rooms renovated.