Yoram Ettinger Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #190, February 14, 2014

1.  A record of 5.3 million tourists in Israel in 2013.

2.  A record of $83.2BN foreign exchange reserves reflects the strength of Israel’s Shekel, at a time when the currencies of the emerging markets plummet.

3.  A record of $2.3BN invested in 662 Israeli startups in 2013 (21% above 2012), according to KPMG and IVC (Globes, January 23, 2014).

4.  Over 250 multinational research & development centers operate in Israel (Globes, February 13).

5.  “Funds from the US, Europe and China are showing interest in dozens of Israeli companies that will be forced on to the auction block by Israel’s efforts to increase competition…. The sale [of dominant Israeli companies] is required by a law passed in December, 2013 to loosen the grip conglomerates have on the economy…. [Israel’s economic] growth is projected to outpace both the US and the euro area this year and next.  The stability of the Israeli economy, and its fundamentals, make it attractive to foreign investors…. You are buying not because of a crisis in Israel, but because there is a desire to boost competition (Bloomberg, February 4, 2014, Alisa Odenheimer and Sharon Wrobel).”

6.  Australia’s Woodside Petroleum, Ltd. will join explorations in Israel’s Leviathan offshore natural gas field, accepting a Memorandum of Understanding – to be completed by March 27 – which will provide the Australian giant with a 25% equity for $2.7BN (Globes Business Daily, February 10, 2014).  Norway is increasingly interested in Israel’s natural gas market.  Stavanger University concluded an agreement, in the energy-engineering area, with Israel’s Technion (Globes January 27). Cyprus negotiates a $3BN natural gas import from Israel.

7.  Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich on Intel’s 40 year operations in Israel: “It’s a microcosm of Intel, a complete Intel within a single country. It’s about the only place where you have a complete cross-section of the company in one country.”  Intel Israel features the largest research & development center outside the US;  $10.8BN investments and a $1BN annual cost (during the last decade) on sourcing goods and services; 9,800 employees (mostly research & development), including 800 hired in December 2013; $35BN exports, including $3.8BN in 2013; breakthrough developments which have advanced Intel’s global competitive edge, such as the 8088 processor, Pentium MMX, Centrino, etc. (Globes, January 27).

8.   Lockheed Martin’s Vice President of International Engineering and Technology, John Evans announced a joint investment, with EMC, in Israel’s cyber technologies: “We recognize evolving global needs, as well as the wealth of innovation taking place within Israel and its universities.” Orna Berry, Vice President and General Manager of EMC Israel: “Israel offers a unique combination of talent, innovation and pioneering spirit. We expect this collaboration with Lockheed Martin will help EMC continue to accelerate our important research & development and contribution to Israel’s mission to be a leader in innovation (Jerusalem Post, January 26).

9.  Steve Mills, IBM’s Senior Vice President announced that IBM is establishing a Cyber Center at Ben Gurion University, (Globes, January 28).

10.  Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella: “The research & development centers in Israel constitutes a strategic factor for Microsoft, enhancing our capabilities inn many areas. Our challenge is to leverage, in a most effective manner, the Israeli manpower (Globes, February 6).”

11.  The French giant, Electricite’ de France (EDF) wishes to participate in the construction of two major Israeli power stations (Globes, January 28).

12.  Altria (previously, Philip Morris Companies) acquired Israel’s Green Smoke (electronic cigarettes) for $110MN (Globes, February 5).

13.  The Israel-China company, ShellCase raised $118MN for its subsidiary, WLCSP, on theShanghai Stock Exchange (Globes, February 11).  The German giant, SAP, led a $47MN round of private placement by Israel’s Kaltura.  SAP was joined by the Silicon Valley-basedNokia Growth Partners, the Wilton, CT-based Commonfund Capital and Brazil’s Gera Ventures (Globes, February 13).  The Silicon Valley-based Accel Partners and Innovation Endeavors (the private fund of Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman) led a $10MN round by Israel’s Aorato.  The London-based Index Ventures and the Silicon Valley-basedSequoia Capital led a $15MN round by Israel’s Adallom

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