Hi! Sign in or Registration
Looking for Investors
Israeli Companies Map
Made in Israel Online Exhibition
World's biggest fund discovers Tel Aviv
Author  Amiram Barkat

World's biggest fund discovers Tel Aviv

From Globs

Last year, Rami Levy joined BTI, the group of businesspeople that supports peace with the Palestinians for the sake of the economy. When this step raised some eyebrows, Levy, a dyed in the wool Likudnik, stressed that his political position was still far from that of those who support the Oslo process. But in Oslo, it turns out, there has actually been a move in Levy's direction recently, or, to be more precise, in the direction of Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd. (TASE:RMLI).

This stock is one of five Israeli stocks that in 2013 became part of the of the investment portfolio of the Government Pension Fund of Norway, the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. At the end of 2013, the fund held shares in Rami Levy Chain Stores worth NIS 18 million, out of total holdings of NIS 3.5 billion in 62 stocks traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Was the decision to invest in Ramy Levy Chain Stores politically motivated? Unlikely. But in other instances of investment in Israeli companies, the fund has certainly acted out of avowedly non-economic considerations. So, for example, in January this year the fund announced that it was putting Africa-Israel Investments Ltd.(TASE:AFIL), controlled by Lev Leviev, and its subsidiary Danya Cebus, back on its blacklist.

This step was taken on the recommendation of the fund's ethics committee, which determined last November that the two companies were guilty of contributing to severe breaches of human rights through construction in East Jerusalem. As a result of this decision, the fund will sell off its holdings in Africa-Israel, which were worth NIS 7.3 million.

Another loser is communications equipment producer Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq:MLNX). During 2103, the Norwegian fund liquidated its holding in the company, which only a year previously amounted to some NIS 60 million. Its holding in Emblaze Ltd. (LSE:BLZ) was also liquidated last year. Similar things have happened in the more distant past. In September 2009, for example, the fund decided to sell its holdings in defense manufacturer Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) because it provided equipment for the separation fence.

Wary of the gas partnerships

These instances are perhaps discordant to Israeli ears, but the general picture of the Norwegian fund's activity is actually positive from an Israeli point of view. In the course of 2013, the value of its investment in companies traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange rose by 43% in nominal terms, from NIS 2.4 billion to nearly NIS 3.5 billion. Even discounting the boom on the stock exchange, the rise is impressive: the fund's proportionate holding in shares on the Tel Aviv 100 list grew by 21% last year, exceeding 0.5% of the total of shares listed.

At the same time, the fund raised it holdings of Israel government bonds from NIS 2.674 billion to NIS 3.75 billion. Another NIS 693 million of the fund's money is invested in Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA). The fund's total investment in the Israeli capital market is thus nearly NIS 8 billion.

The fund's largest equity holdings are in Teva, the banks, and Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL), with the best performing stock being Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI). Apart from Rami Levy, it is noteworthy that the fund has added to its portfolio two gas exploration companies,Delek Energy Systems Ltd. (TASE: DLEN) and JOEL Jerusalem Oil Exploration Ltd. (TASE: JOEL). In both cases, the investment is in the parent company, and not in the partnerships they control, Delek-Drilling, Avner Oil and Gas LP (TASE: AVNR.L), and Isramco Ltd. (Nasdaq: ISRL; TASE: ISRA.L), which could indicate aversion in principle to investment in limited partnerships.

What lies behind the growth in the fund's investment in Israeli stocks? Journalist Anders Horntvedt of financial newspaper "Finansavisen" points in this context to the decision by the Norwegian Ministry of Finance in the summer of 2012 to include Israel in its emerging markets index. "Beyond that, it is no secret that the current government in Norway holds more positive views on Israel than the previous government, and that certainly can't harm," Horntvedt adds.

Indeed, on October 16, 2013, a new government was sworn in in Oslo headed by a center-right party, replacing a coalition of left-wing parties that took an openly pro-Palestinian stance. Since then, the new Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg, has declared her opposition to boycotting Israel.

Aharon (Orni) Izakson, who heads the Norwegian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce, can testify to the warming of relations between the two countries. Izakson points to growing interest on the part of Norwegian companies in Israel's oil and gas exploration industry, and mentions an Israel-Norway business conference planned for November in Israel. "I hope that it will also be possible to promote the signing of an R&D agreement between the countries," he says.

Will we see more Norwegian money invested in Israeli know-how?

"I hope and believe that we will, although in my view it would be better to develop relations on a mutual basis, of investment by both sides."

According to Horntvedt, the Government Pension Fund of Norway will continue to increase its investment in Israel and to reduce its under-exposure to the Israeli market. "The fund is growing rapidly, and so there is every reason to assume that its investments in Israel will continue to grow," he says. "There is nothing at present to prevent the fund from investing in Israel, apart from matters relating to the settlements."

Do you think the ban on Africa-Israel will be broadened to other companies?

"Any company that has activity in East Jerusalem or in settlements on the West Bank runs the risk of being put on the blacklist. Like it or not, that is the fund's declared policy."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 9, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

Globes - World's biggest fund discovers Tel Aviv

 

More Articles of Home
Division of Organic and Inorganic Chemistry
The major research activities in the division are focused on molecular design, preparation and studies of novel organic, inorganic and biological materials. The chemical, physical and biological properties of these compounds and materials are investigated comprehensively by diverse traditional and modern sophisticated techniques. Undoubtedly, the molecular engineering of the materials and processes for their synthesis and studies represent a fascinating challenge whose successful solutions require a combination of synthetic expertise, mechanistic understanding, theoretical computational insight and chemical intuition.The major core of the Division is represented by the research groups oriented around synthetic organic, organometallic and catalytic chemistry. Compared with other Israeli universities, the Technion currently accommodates the highest concentration of scientists engaged in these research fields. Overall efforts in the development of new methods and catalysts for organic synthesis are aimed at application to the smarter, more powerful and effective preparation of the materials we depend upon, and the generation of valuable new products of potential interest for chemistry, biology and materials science. At least five groups are dealing with these aspects. Prof. Marek’s group is dealing with the design and development of new and efficient stereo- and enantioselective strategies for the synthesis of important complex molecular structures, with special emphasis on the creation of multiple stereo centers in a single-pot operation. Dr. Szpilman’s group is focusing on the development of novel efficient organ catalysts for useful enantioselective transformations and on natural product synthesis. Prof. Eisen’s group is developing new actinide and group 4-containing organometallic catalysts for the efficient production of useful polymers, including the synthesis of novel membranes as trapping entities for water purification and urea trapping under human physiological conditions (organic materials-oriented projects). Prof. Gross’ group is developing corrole-based catalysts for small molecule activation, oxidation and asymmetric synthetic processes. Prof. Gandelman’s group is promoting the design and development of unique organic and metal organic-based systems, new types of paradigms, and chemical bonding as a fundamental basis for the discovery of novel efficient catalytic processes.Synthesis, characterization and studies on organosilicon compounds with fundamentally and practically unique properties are being developed in Prof. Apeloig’s group. Preparation of novel aromatic compounds and fundamental aspects of aromaticity are being studied in Prof. Stanger’s group. Both groups apply high-level computational chemistry to investigate the related problems theoretically.Supramolecular chemistry is mainly represented by two groups. Prof. Keinan’s group is designing and developing biomolecular computing devices, synthetic capsids and enzymes, molecular machines, catalytic antibodies, along with sensors for explosives. Prof. Eichen’s group is directing self-assembly processes for the fabrication of nanometer-scale electronic components. Optical and electrical properties of organic functional materials are studied intensively in his group.Biologically-related chemistry (bioorganic and bioinorganic) is represented mainly by three groups. Prof. Baasov’s group is engaging in the rational design of novel antibacterial drugs, synthesis and evaluation of catalytic oligosaccharides, and the development of new chemical and enzymatic methodologies for the assembly of oligosaccharides. Prof. Gross’ group is dealing with biomimetic investigations of metal catalyzed processes to develop new strategies for combating cancer and diseases initiated by reactive oxygen species. Dr. Maayan’s group plans to study the interactions between organic biomimetic foldamers (peptide mimics) and inorganic species, such as metal ions, metal nanoparticles and metal clusters, directing these materials towards applications in catalysis and materials science.A more detailed description of the research areas of each group can be found by following the links below:The research areas of each group are described below:1. Apeloig Yitzhak2. Baasov Timor3. Eichen Yoav4. Eisen Moris S.5. Gandelman Mark6. Gross Zeev7. Keinan Ehud8. Marek Ilan9. Mayan Galia 10. Stanger Amnon11. Szpilman Alex M.
Tel Aviv ranked world's 3rd hottest city for 2011
Tel Aviv ranked world's 3rd hottest city for 2011By JPOST.COM STAFF  11/01/2010 15:03 Lonely Planet's Top Cities list describes Israel's most international city as hedonistic, tolerant, cultured, and a truly diverse 21st-century hub.After scouring the globe for next year’s hottest cities, the editors at travel guide company Lonely Planet released their Top 10 Cities for 2011 on Sunday, listing what it called a “modern Sin City” – Tel Aviv – at No. 3.Coming in behind New York City and Tangier, Tel Aviv is described as being unified by the religion of hedonism, yet tolerant, cultured and a truly diverse 21st-century hub.Touching on the city’s wellknown night life, Lonely Planet observes, “There are more bars than synagogues, God is a DJ and everyone’s body is a temple.”Calling Tel Aviv the most international city in Israel, Lonely Planet points out that the city is home to a large gay community, calling it “a kind of San Francisco in the Middle East.”On a cultural note, they credit the city’s university and museums with making it “the greenhouse for Israel’s growing art, film and music scenes.”Lonely Planet recommends strolling down the pleasant tree-lined streets that reach to the Mediterranean Sea, and finding out why Tel Aviv’s residents call it the greatest city on earth.Other cities that made the list were Valencia, the Peruvian Amazon city of Iquitos, Delhi, Newcastle, and the city the company describes as the spiritual heir to Bob Dylan, Chiang Mai.Lonely Planet on Sunday also listed its Top 10 Countries for 2011. While Israel did not make the 2011 list, Syria did.Coming in at No. 9, the guide lauds Syria’s slowly liberalizing economy and the newfound freedom of no longer having the “noose of the ‘Axis of Evil’ tag hanging around its neck” as some of the reasons for Syria making this year’s list.The writers recommend the old cities of Aleppo and Damascus, exploring the open countryside “strewn with the abandoned playgrounds of fallen empires.”Albania topped the list, with Brazil coming in second.   
Start-ups boost big technology cos
Everyone wins when a big company acquires a start-up.From GlobsExactly three years ago, Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) co-founder Larry Page again took over as CEO, ten years after leaving the position. Eric Schmidt vacated the post to become chairman, and Page began to take the search giant in a new direction. Schmidt, who had been parachuted into the company in 2001 because of investor pressure as a responsible adult to turn the small and bubbling start-up into the corporate giant that Google has become. However, three years ago, it was decided to go back to basics, and not just with a personnel change, in order to give Google the feel and atmosphere of a start-up that it had lost over the years. The idea was to instill innovation, agility, and a faster pace of decision-making in a company with tens of thousands of employees.This was only part of Google's strategy to feel younger and more innovative. In fact, the company is one of the most active buyers of start-ups and technology companies, with over 150 acquisitions amounting to billions of dollars. This method has brought many new faces to Google's departments, and kept its head above the water in a range of fields.Google is not alone of course. Many enterprises in Israel and other countries are trying to bring in innovation through the back door. However big and smart they may be, these enterprises know that not all wisdom is found in the company's corridors, and that there is a need for some smarts and new thinking from outside, either through acquisitions, or more efficiently and smartly through strategic collaborations.Examples are Qualcomm Corporation (Nasdaq: QCOM) and Deutsche Telekom AG (XETRA: DTE). The two giants have shown great interest in tiny Ness Ziona-based Magisto Ltd. and have embraced it. The Israeli company has developed an advanced app for editing video clips directly from smartphones. The app is installed in hundreds of thousands of Deutsche Telekom handsets and the company works closely with Qualcomm on future developments."Video is one of the key elements in 4G networks, which are far faster than their predecessors. We consume as much as Facebook or WhatsApp in almost the same way, but Deutsche Telekom sought the extra something to offer its users, and provide this with our video editing service," says Magisto co-founder and CEO Oren Boiman.Boiman says that the collaboration with Qualcomm put it in the lead. "All of Magisto's technology and the set of products that we're developing are not part of Qualcomm's repertoire," he says. "They know how to make high-speed cameras, but we bring the product that is supposed to be the killer app, which can differentiate between what it sees through the camera, how to take automatic pictures, track the person in front of the camera, and so on."The advantage of big enterprises cooperating with start-ups is the added value and differentiation for their users when the need to answer the question whether our product causes their product to be better and different from other products. They know that they can't do everything in-house."In Israel, too, the same feeling that the lack of innovation can be solved by linking up with start-ups is also understood. For example,Zap Group Ltd. linked up with several Israel start-ups to offer added value to its advertiser clients. Zap Group CEO Nir Lempert says, "Assimilating a start-up in a big company can give it many advantages, such as a system-wide perspective, relevant ties in Israel and other countries, and help solve relevant business problems from life and not just in theory."Lempert says that the company's cooperation model with start-ups allows them use the large enterprises as a kind of beta site for various experiences and to see how things work in practice, and to change direction, if necessary. "We can install the product on our websites and apps and together try and promote the finished product in the world," he says.Lempert says that two successful examples are MobeeArt Ltd., which began as a company for building mobile sites for small businesses, and now develops systems for managing a full digital presence for these companies, and Vcita Ltd., which began as a diary management solution for free professionals, and with the influence of Zap Group developed the product to manage leads for small businesses."The change and development was made at our demand and needs, and these products are now sold in a number of countries. These transactions are win-win for both sides," says Lampert.Who will win smartup2?"Globes", in collaboration with Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) is launching the second annual SmartUp competition for Israeli start-ups. As part of the project, "Globes" correspondents will track three start-ups, which receive assistance from incubator experts and Bank Hapoalim advisers, based on the understanding that many companies with good groundbreaking ideas get stuck at the start because of difficulties that prevent them from achieving their potential.The project is designed for Israeli companies that have raised at least NIS 250,000 in seed funding. Each company selected for the program will receive over three months advice from the high tech and business world on a range of topics relevant for early-stage start-ups, such as marketing, financing, human resources, and heading overseas. All they have to do is to register at smartup2 page (in Hebrew), and tell us why your start-up should participate. Participating companies will receive a start-up package from Bank Hapoalim, including a high-tech account at preferred terms and a NIS 20,000 grant.The three winners will receive assistance from leading Israeli incubators and accelerators Explore.Dream.Discover, 8200 EISP, andNielsen Innovate.Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 21, 2014© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014Globes - Everyone wins when a big company acquires a start-up   
up


Last Articles


Made in Israel - an online exhibition and catalog of Israeli Products & Services made for export
2015 Jun 14
Wanted: Arts majors for high-tech From Globs Technology companies are looking for creativ...
Published by Dafna Barmeli-Golan
Made in Israel - an online exhibition and catalog of Israeli Products & Services made for export
2014 Aug 31
World's biggest fund discovers Tel Aviv From Globs Last year, Rami Levy joined BTI, the g...
Published by Amiram Barkat
Made in Israel - an online exhibition and catalog of Israeli Products & Services made for export
2014 Jul 07
Everyone wins when a big company acquires a start-up. From Globs Exactly three years ago,...
Published by Roy Goldenberg
Made in Israel - an online exhibition and catalog of Israeli Products & Services made for export
2014 Jul 07
Executives in Israel for the MIXiii conference tell "Globes" about the future of medici...
Published by Gali Weinreb