Newsletter April 2005



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Israeli companies in Australia



Honeylight Enterprises


What's happening in Israel


Dear friends and colleagues,

Mr. Hugh Morgan AC, President of the Business Council of Australia, will lead a high-level trade delegation to Israel, organized by the Australia Israel Chamber of commerce. Mr. Morgan will be joined by senior Australian business leaders, including Mr. Richard Pratt AC, senior representatives from major companies and research institutions, government representatives and others. The mission will be from 24 - 31 May 2005.

The Mission will coincide with Bio-Tech Israel 2005, Israel’s premier conference and exhibition for biomedical technologies and devices. For more information about the conference please visit .   


The Mission will seek unique trade opportunities and collaboration between Australia and Israel in technology, science, education and defence. Mission delegates will receive personalised agendas which will include meetings arranged to assist them in completing their mission objectives.


Israel offers a great innovative experience. I urge anyone involved in innovation to come and be part of this unique delegation. For further details please contact us



Nili Shalev
Israel Trade Commissioner

6/37 York Street
Sydney, NSW
Tel: 02 92623943


Success Stories
Israeli companies in Australia



Australian billionaire John Gandel, chairman of the Gandel group, 
acquired a half interest in Plastro Irrigation Systems and Palad Infrastructure And Pipes Ltd., two enterprises owned by Kibbutz Gvat. Gandel will pay NIS 62.5 million for 50% of Gvat’s holding firm, which is currently a cooperative society owning 76% of Plastro Irrigation and 52% of Palad Infrastructure And Pipes Ltd. Former Ministry of Finance budget director Uri Yogev represents Gandel in Israel.
The deal reflects a NIS 140 million value for Plastro Irrigation (NIS 10.90 per share), 30% higher than the market price before the deal was reported. Palad, a private company, is priced at NIS 30 million in the deal.
Gandel and Yogev are investing in Gvat’s enterprises after having recently considered a partnership in another kibbutz irrigation enterprise Netafim. After this deal is completed, Gandel will indirectly own 38% of Plastro Irrigation. Yogev will probably be appointed chairman of Plastro Irrigation.
The deal with Gandel will increase the amount of capital raised for Gvat’s enterprises to NIS 220 million in less than a year, mostly through Plastro Irrigation, Gvat’s most interesting holding. Plastro Irrigation develops, manufactures, markets, and provides services for low-volume irrigation systems. 
 Plastro has manufacturing facility  in Victoria and broad activity in Australia . 



Three contenders have submitted tenders for a 100 million Australian dollar contract for tactical UAVs for the Australian Army.

Bids were submitted late last year and the winner is expected to be named by mid-2005, according to industry sources. The Army is seeking two UAV systems to equip two brigades, each consisting of up to four UAVs and two ground control stations. The UAVs will enter service in 2008.

Boeing Australia, Brisbane, has teamed with Israeli UAV manufacturer IAI Malat, Tel Aviv, to offer the latter’s I-View system. Boeing sources said Australia could be the launch customer for the I-View 250 model, which shares components with IAI’s Heron, Hunter and Searcher 2.

ADI, Sydney, has teamed with Elbit, Tel Aviv, to offer a variant of the Watchkeeper UAV ordered by the United Kingdom.

AAI, Hunt Valley, Md., has teamed with BAE SYSTEMS Australia, Adelaide, to offer the Shadow 200 UAV, which is in U.S. Army service in Iraq.  


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In the Gulf War in the early 1990s, US soldiers fighting on the Middle Eastern battlefield sometimes found themselves using dressings dated from World War II to patch up their wounds. In the present Iraqi conflict, however, American forces are now using an advanced new bandage, developed in Israel, that can save lives by stopping traumatic hemorrhaging wounds and can also be used as a tourniquet, or a sling.

The new bandage, called the Emergency Bandage, was developed by First Care Products, a tiny four-man Jerusalem start-up. The bandage marks the first major alteration to field dressings since the 1940s, and has already established its worth.

One of the major causes of death for soldiers at war is not the injury itself, but loss of blood on the battlefield. In the past, soldiers were taken off the battlefield and then treated for their injuries. Today, they are treated on the spot, which improves a victim's chances of survival. Often it is the soldier himself who takes responsibility for dealing with his wounds.


The Emergency Bandage is an elasticized bandage with a non-adhesive bandage pad sewn in. The bandage has a built-in pressure bar, which allows the soldier to twist the bandage around the wound once and then change the direction of the bandage, wrapping it around the limb or body part to create pressure on the wound. Aside from this, the pressure bar also makes bandaging easier. A closure bar at the end of the bandage means that it clips neatly into place and will not slip. The pressure bar also enables a soldier to use the bandage on complicated injuries like the groin and head, which require wrapping in different directions.

Last year, the US Army purchased nearly 200,000 bandages for its troops. This year, the US Army purchased 800,000.

The Emergency Bandage, nicknamed the “Israeli bandage” by US troops, was created by American-Israeli Bernard Ben-Natan, a former combat medic in the IDF, who was located for some time at the Jerusalem Software Incubator (JSI), which is now owned by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).


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Economic, Financial & Biotech
Trends in Israel



Foreign investment in Israel totaled $2.11 billion in January-February 2005, including $1.08 billion in February, a third of the total foreign investment in Israel in 2004. Investment is now running at an unprecedented annual pace of $12 billion, which would be an all-time record. Direct foreign investment, particularly in real estate and high-tech companies, amounted to $604 million in January-February. The January-February rate reflects an annualized $3.6 billion in direct foreign investment, triple the total in 2004. Foreign financial investment in January-February was $1.62 billion, of which $951 million was in February.
The January-February rate reflects an annualized rate of over $9 billion in foreign financial investment. Foreign investment in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) has grown 2.6-fold so far this year, reaching $1.37 billion in January-February, compared with $523 million for all of 2004. If the pace continues, the TASE will be flooded with $8 billion in foreign investment this year.



Following two years of little activity, Israeli venture capital funds raised $724 million in 2004. Israel Venture Capital (IVC) Research Center and Giza Venture Capital chairman Zeev Holtzman said, "Total capital sought by Israeli funds is more than $4 billion. We estimate, however, that in 2005 only about $1.5 billion will be raised by VCs. As a result, a shortage of capital for investments in technological companies is expected. This situation is in contrast to the U.S. where there is an overhang of capital. Israel, as a result, will continue to have attractive opportunities." 

In 2004, 428 Israeli companies high-tech raised $1.46 billion from local and foreign venture investors, 45% more than the $1.01 billion raised in 2003. The rate of investment dipped somewhat in the fourth quarter: $366 million was raised by 113 companies in that quarter, compared with $438 million raised by the same number of companies in the third quarter. Nevertheless, the fourth quarter of 2004 saw the second highest amount of capital raised since the first quarter of 2002. Life sciences companies continue to attract a larger and larger proportion of the capital raised.



The Pontifax investment fund, founded by Teva  chairman Eli Hurvitz, has refrained from disclosing particulars of its investors and the capital that it has raised. The fund is said to have raised $35 million, and its investors include names from the front row of academic institutions and industry. Among Pontifax’s investors, who also serve on the fund’s advisory committee, are Agis Industries controlling shareholder Moshe (Mori) Arkin and urologist and former Tel Aviv University president Prof. Moshe Many, now a director at Teva.

Other members of the advisory committee who have invested in the fund include Prof. Michael Sela and Prof. Ruth Arnon, who developed the molecule on which Copaxone, Teva’s ethical drug for treatment of multiple sclerosis, is based.

Since it was founded six months ago, Pontifax has made only two investments totaling $2.3 million. The first was in start-up Protalix Biotherapeutics Ltd. (formerly Metabogal), which is developing drugs based on plant cells for treatment of Gaucher's disease.  Pontifax’s second investment was in NeuroSurvival Technologies (NST), which develops tools for diagnosing and treating apoptosis processes (programmed cell death).



In recognition of the Hadassah Medical Organization’s work in promoting Jewish-Arab cooperation and human values, HMO has been honored with a nomination for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. To quote one of the nominating petitions, HMO is “an example to the world that hatred and suspicion can be overcome by people of goodwill.”

The Nobel Prize winner is chosen by a committee of five, appointed by the Norwegian Parliament. Nominators lauded HMO for operating its hospitals according to humanitarian values that require giving a high level of health care to people of all ages, religions, and ethnic origins. HMO has worked flawlessly, the nominators noted, to implement these values throughout the raging terrorist violence these past four and a half years. In addition, the nominators praise Hadassah for training Palestinian pediatric oncology specialists from the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem.



The march of Israeli companies floating on Nasdaq began well with the IPO of Shamir Optical Industries Ltd. Shamir Optical raised $56 million at $14 per share (the average of the projected rice range), and at a market cap of $225 million. The company issued 3.4 million shares, raising a gross $47.6 million, and shareholders sold 600,000 shares for $8.4 million. Shamir Optical was welcomed on its first day of trading, rising 14.3% to $16, reflecting a market cap of $258 million, or NIS 1.1 billion. The share rose to $19.50 during the session, reflecting a return of almost 40%.

Since Shamir Optical was the first IPO by an Israeli company on Nasdaq in 2005, and the first by a kibbutz company, its management, led by president and CEO Giora Ben-Zeev, was granted the honor of ringing the closing bell on Friday.



Eastman Kodak Company announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Orex Computed Radiography Ltd., a provider of compact, robust computed radiography systems that enable medical practitioners to acquire patient x-ray images digitally. Under the agreement, Kodak will acquire privately held Orex for approximately $50.5 million in cash. Kodak anticipates that Orex will add approximately $32 million to Kodak's revenue in 2005, reflecting approximately 10 months of Kodak ownership. The technology and innovation behind the hardware and software that make up Orex's small format computed radiography (CR) products have resulted in one of the most versatile and flexible compact CR systems on the market. Orex manufactures and markets these systems for specialty markets, such as orthopedics, diagnostic imaging centers and dentistry.



Dr. Dan Maydan, president emeritus of Applied Materials, Inc., has been elected to the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame for his outstanding professional achievements in engineering and technology and significant contributions to the community. Maydan was among five inductees honored by the Silicon Valley Engineering Council (SVEC) in a ceremony this week. Dr. Maydan has been a leader in the innovation and commercialization of manufacturing technology that has made a lasting impact on the semiconductor industry and the chips used in everyday life. His legacy at Applied Materials includes breakthrough systems that help semiconductor manufacturers produce the world's most advanced integrated circuits. Dr. Maydan led the development of the Precision 5000, a revolutionary single-wafer processing system that the Smithsonian Institution includes as part of its collection of technologies that have helped shape society and the modern world.



Chief Scientist Dr.
Eli Opper is preparing an amendment to the Encouragement of Industrial R&D Law (1984), which will make the R&D centers in Israel of international companies eligible for grants for the first time. Until now, development centers in Israel have not been eligible for state aid to participate in risk.

Opper confirmed the report, saying that he was preparing a special model for aid to development centers. He said that the circumstances of development centers were different, which was why a model with special terms was needed for them. One of the reasons for this is that development centers develop technologies, rather than specific products, which means that royalties cannot be collected under the existing royalties formula.

Royalties from development centers based on a formula of the state's share in risk, could become very lucrative for the state



Israeli firm Natural Speech Communication, which specializes in speech recognition hardware for phone systems, has launched KWS, a speech recognition engine that can identify key words spoken in thousands of simultaneous phone calls in real time, or from tapes. The engine can be integrated with recording systems or security and intelligence wiretaps, as well as for customer service center quality controls. It can be set to identify words like bomb, explosive or weapon for security applications, or words relating to service quality in civilian applications. Unlike other products, KWS can handle long, continuous conversations.


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Beverley Honig specialises in market growth opportunities for Israeli companies. From her previous general management experience at Coles Myer and now in her capacity as CEO Honeylight Enterprises Business Developers and holding board directorships in several companies, she is well placed to do this: Honeylight Enterprises, advises some of the top 500 companies in the region.

Her Israeli clients feature as leading edge suppliers of products, many in high tech. One such company, Geosim, is the only 3D modeling company in the worls to model whole cities in true 3D format, such as the City of Philadelphia. Other clients supply design software to the fashion industry. It is through her connections with Fashion that Beverley thought it a good idea to promote a group of young  Israeli  fashion designers, and thought the perfect forum to start this was the fashion Exposed Expo which has more than 12,000 visitors in a th r ee day expo twice a year. There was one  Israeli  fashion designer that put her hand up to do this, Ella Gonen.

Ella Gonen agreed with Honeylight to jointly launch their spring/summer range at the March Expo in Sydney, with a view to finding distributors/agents and getting some exposure. What eventuated from this was significant orders well in excess of the New York expo at the same time, that has propelled Ella Gonen as a force to be reckoned with in the fashion scene in Australia. Orders from the first day exceeded that of the New York Expo, and by the end of the Expo agencies have been set up around Australia, and Ella Gonen is on the map. During the Expo’s fashion parade, the range starred as unique and elegant, and the show stylist placed it at the forefront of all the designers at the show.



Ella Gonen is a young and dynamic women's fashion design label that in just a few years has developed a reputation for the innovative and exciting design of clothes, hats and accessories. The quality of Ella Gonen fashion is as important as design, and all aspects of design and production take place in Israel

Honeylight Enterprises is now the distributor for Ella Gonen label, and has appointed some agents around Australia to promote and show the ranges. Honeylight has undertaken to set up the next Fashion Exposed Expo in September in Melbourne, and then distribute ranges from there around Australia directly and through agents.


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24 - 26

Tuesday - Thursday

The Israel Biomedical Technologies Conference & Exhibition

Israel-Biotech 2005 will be held under the auspices of the newly formed ILSI - Israel Life Science Industry and INNI - Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative.
Israel Bio-Tech, 2005 is expanding its scope to include the well-established medical device segment and emerging technologies such as Nano-Bio and Cell Therapy in addition to the traditional biotech industry.

for more information
click here


20 -23

Monday - Thursday

The 18th International Exhibition for Technology Developments

Technology 2005 is Israel's largest and most prestigious technology exhibition and is demonstrating Israel's industrial pride: hi-tech and science based industries. This exhibition will exhibit a variety of products and services for the Israeli Hi-Tech industries.

for more information
click here


28 - 29

Tuesday - Wednesday

International Trade Fair for Jewelry, Watches and Fashion Accessories

With a forecast of over 120 manufacturers and designers, diamond and gemstones suppliers and providers of services and over 10,000 trade and public visitors, Jovella 2005 has already established itself as the central event for the Israeli jewelry industry and is planned to attract buyers from abroad as well.

for more information
click here


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