Israel – the Natural Gas and Start Up Nation

Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #177, April 11, 2013

1.  The flow of natural gas from Israel's Tamar reservoir in the Mediterranean to the Ashdod reception facility was inaugurated on March 30, 2013, ushering in a new era in Israel's energy sector [led by the Houston-based Noble Energy]. Israel will not only become independent in being able to supply its own energy needs, but it is likely to become an energy exporter as its maritime gas fields are further developed…. The amount of gas discovered offshore now dwarfs any feasible, projected Israeli demand for at least half a century….Israel will become a net exporter of gas….Europe would seem to be the natural export market for Israeli gas….Yet Asia may emerge as Israel's preferred export destination. The Australian firm, Woodside, which acquired about a third of the rights to the Leviathan field, is oriented toward marketing gas in Asia, and envisions building a liquefaction plant to service that trade….Israel will view with apprehension any scheme to anchor its critical infrastructure in countries beyond its own borders, such as Jordan, Cyprus, or Turkey…. (Dr. David Wurmser, April 4, 2013).

2. Hewlett-Packard (HP) is the second largest investor – trailing Intel - in Israel’s information technology sector, with 6,000 employees.  HP’s Israel-developed products carry the Indigo and Scitetx Vision brands (Southeast-Israel Business News, March, 2013).

3.  The Chicago-based AllScripts acquired Israel’s dbMotion for $235MN (Globes Business Daily, March 6, 2013).

4.   The globe’s largest biotech company, Roche of Basel, Switzerland, concluded a joint venture with Israel’s Chiasma, developing and commercializing Chiasma’s Octreolin for acromegaly and neuroendocrine tumors. Roche received a worldwide exclusive license in return for an upfront payment of $65MN and additional $530MN in milestones and royalties (Globes, February 19).

5.  Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) and Israel’s Amdocs are establishing a joint development center in Israel.  Amdocs operates a similar center with AT&T.  SingTel intends to invest in a few Israeli start-ups, following its acquisition – in March 2012 - of Israel’s Amobee for $321MN (Globes, March 4).  Germany’s global optical giant, Zeiss, is establishing a research and development center in Israel.  Five years ago, it acquired Israel’s Pixer (Yedioth Achronot daily, April 4).  Michael Dell’s MSD Capital invested $22MN in Israel’s food chain, Rami Levy, increasing its holding to 6.1%.  The Boston-based Fidelity acquired 5% of Rami Levy for $27MN (Globes, March 29 and April 8).

6.  Hong Kong’s investment mogul, Li Ka Shing’s Horizon Ventures, led an$ 8MN round of private placement by Israel’s Nipendo (Globes, March 12).  The Waltham, MA-based Battery Ventures – joined by the Menlo Park, CA-based Opus Capital - led a $10MN second round by Israel’s SiSense (Globes, April 4). The Menlo Park-based Sequoia Capital – joined by T-Mobile – led an $11MN round by Israel’s Innovid (Globes, March 8).  Israel’s StarCom raised $4MN at the London  Stock Exchange for smaller companies, AIM (March 6).