Investing in Israel

by Yoram Ettinger

1. According to JOSEPH HOGAN, GE-MEDICAL’S CEO AND PRESIDENT (Ma’ariv, Aug. 12, 2003), “Security has had little impact on our decision to sustain investment in Israel. The track record of the last 4-5 years’ investment in Israel has been positive, and we look forward to the next 5 years… We have invested a few hundred million dollars in Israel during the last 10 years, including in our R&D center, which employs 300 persons… Israel’s technologies are second to none in the world… I get the same feedback from our competitor, Siemens [which invests regularly in Israel] and from various VC Funds. Our Israeli R&D center is one of our largest. It develops all our digital imaging technologies, which constitute one of the fastest growing section of GE-Medical. Israeli technologies are responsible for many of our CT, MRI and Ultrasound products… Currently, we are examining 2-3 additional investments (startups) in Israel.”

2. OVER 300 OVERSEAS COMPANIES HAVE ESTABLISHED SITES IN ISRAEL: Intel (5 sites employing 5,300 persons and hiring!), Texas Instruments, Motorola (its largest R&D center in the world), IBM, Microsoft (its first R&D center outside the US), Cisco (its only R&D center outside the US), Hewlett-Packard, EMC Data Storage, Applied Materials, 3-Com, Philips, Siemens, Sun Microsystems, Vishay Inter-Technology (hiring 3,500 persons in addition t the 3,000 currently employed in the 6 sites), National Semiconductor, SCI, AOL, Digital, Lucent Technologies, Intergraph, AlcaTel, Ericssen, etc.

3. LEADING INVESTMENT BANKS AND VC FUNDS ENJOY STRONG PRESENCE IN ISRAEL: Sequoia (its only non-California center), Benchmark Capital, Accel Partners, Intel-Capital, AOL VC Fund, GE-Capital, GE-Medical, Johnson&Johnson VC Fund, Advent International, Battery Ventures, Greylock Capital, Hyperion VC Fund, Lightspeed, US Venture Partners, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Hambrecht &Co., Merrill Lynch, Lehman Bros., Solomon-Smith Barney, Bankers Trust, Oppenheimer, Alex Brown, Bank of America-Robertson Stephens, Harbor West, Evergreen CIBC Bank, Japan’s Nomura, NIF Ventures, JapCo, Hitachi and Marubani, Taiwan’s Chian Investment Development Bank and KMT, Singapore Government VC Funds, Deutsche Bank, APEX Partners, Alice (Italy), Capital NIB, Van Lear Group and Paul Baan (Holland), Credit Swiss-First Boston, etc.

4. LEADING PENSION FUNDS have invested in Israel: “CalPERS (CA State employees pension fund). NY State employees, MIT, GE, Bell South, Princeton University, US Teachers’ Union, Canada’s CAISSE and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, Singapore’s pension fund, etc.

5. LEADING INSURANCE COMPANIES have invested in Israel: Mass Mutual, AIG, AON, March McLennen (the largest insurance broker in the world), etc.

6. 2002 VC FUND INVESTMENT IN ISRAEL EXCEEDED ANY EUROPEAN COUNTRY: $850MN compared with $790MN in Britain, $644MN in Germany, $600MN in France, etc. According to PriceWaterHouse Cooper, there has been a 70% rise in VC fund investment in Israeli start ups during the 2nd quarter of 2003 ($243MN), compared with the first quarter and a 12% rise over the second quarter of 2002.


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8. GOLDMAN SACHS (June 25, 2003): “Astute overseas investors in Israel pay less attention to security developments and more attention to long-term economic trends…”

LEHMAN BROS (March, 2003): “Over the long-term, Israel’s technology sector [know how, rather than land and labor, intensive] would likely continue to be more influenced by global technology spending and by NASDAQ than by regional geopolitics… Most Israeli high-tech companies export more than 90% of their output. Many operate globally, with marketing and support facilities in the US, Europe and Asia… During the two year long Intifada, Israeli companies have put in practice alternative manufacturing resources distant from hostile areas… Based on historical share price fluctuations, following the eruption of geopolitical conflicts in the area, we conclude that these events tend to have a short-term effect…”

9. RECENT INCREASE IN OVERSEAS INVESTMENT IN ISRAEL HAS BEEN INDUCED BY the $9BN US loan guarantees and the $1BN in special assistance to Israel, the improved economic indicators in the US, the passage of the economic stimulus plan in Israel, the gradual reduction of interest rates, the relative strength of the Shekel, the drastic cut in government expenditures and the destruction of Saddam’s regime.

10. ISRAEL’S COMPETITIVE HIGH-TECH EDGE: Highest per capita number of R&D engineers, scientists and technicians (140 per 10,000, compared with 80 in the US); Unique combination of Israel, US, Russia and Europe trained R&D persons; Unique high-tech interaction among research, military and industry; Israel is the only country enjoying Free Trade Agreements with the US, the EU and EFTA.