Doug interviews Meir Nissensohn, former general manager of IBM in Israel. Mr. Nissensohn explains why IBM came to Israel, what investment opportunities Israel offers to large, multinational companies and what these companies can give to Israel in return. Also find out why Israel has so many startup companies and why businesses and the Israeli economy continue to prosper on the second part of this week’s Goldstein on Gelt podcast.
Posts Tagged ‘investment’
As Pesach approaches, the themes of freedom and liberation from slavery are prominent in a Jew’s mind. Indeed, the message of Pesach is one of the most powerful Jewish experiences, and many otherwise non-religious Jews find their way to a Pesach Seder.
Slavery in Egypt may seem like a distant memory to many Jewish Press readers, but take a moment to consider whether you are truly free. After all, doesn’t modern slavery come in the form of debt, overdraft, and heavy bills?
How free can you be facing bills, debts, long work hours and/or demanding employers? Can you consider yourself free if you spend nights worrying about how you will make it through the end of the month?
Maybe you and your spouse are both working full time. But those bills just keep coming in. You’re not even wasting your money on fancy vacations or designer clothes. Yet there seems to be a permanent hole in your bank account. Bills and expenses seem to pursue you wherever you go. You can feel like a slave.
Although everyone has his own story, one common thread to many families’ financial woes is that they aren’t managing their money properly. Unfortunately, money management and budgeting skills don’t occupy the same place on the school curriculum as math or history. As a result, many people never learn how to properly take care of their money, and they stumble and struggle to meet their daily expenses. Budgeting and financial planning need to be learned, no matter how old you are or at what stage of life you find yourself.
Successful finances require keeping track of spending and income. Start by keeping your receipts and noting down your daily expenses.
Learning to budget and plan efficiently can help liberate you from the slavery of overspending, fiscal disorganization, and debt.
In the second part of this week’s Goldstein on Gelt podcast, Doug gives important information about retirement, insurance, and pensions in Israel. If you’re an oleh or you are considering moving to Israel, find out which kinds of insurance would be most suitable for you and your family. Don’t miss out on these vital facts. Listen to this part of the podcast for more.
When should you start planning for retirement? In your twenties, or in your fifties? In the second part of this week’s Goldstein on Gelt show, Doug meets Terry Savage, a well-known expert on personal finance. Terry, author of The New Savage Number: How Much Money Do Really You Need to Retire? tells us why time is more important than money and why you need to start planning for retirement even when you’re still young. Find out more about what you need for your golden years and when you should start teaching your kids about money.
1. Israel’s 2009-2012 economic growth of 14.7% leads the OECD countries, ahead of Australia – 10.7%, Canada – 4.8%, USA – 3.2%, Germany – 2.7%, France – 0.3%, Euro Bloc – 1.5% decline. Israel’s growth was undermined by the stoppage of natural gas supply from Egypt, which requires the acquisition of more expensive sources of energy (“Israel Hayom”, Jan. 2, 2013).
2. Israel’s 2012 economic growth, 3.3%, leads the OECD countries which average 1.4% growth, ahead of the US (2.2%), Canada (2%), Japan (1.6%), Brazil (1.5%), Germany (0.9%), France (0.2%), Britain (0.1% decline), Spain (1.3% decline) and Italy (2.2% decline), trailingIndia’s 4.5% and China’s 7.5% . Israel’s growth per capita, 1.5%, exceeds OECD’s average of 0.7%. Israel’s unemployment, 6.9%, is lower than the OECD (other than Germany’s and Japan’s) which averages 8%. Israel’s private consumption increased 2.8%, compared with the OECD average of 1%. Notwithstanding the global meltdown, Israel’s exports grew 1% at a time when most countries experience a substantial decline in exports (Globes Business Daily, December 31, 2012).
3. Israel’s 2012 tourism – all time high of 2.9 million tourists, compared with 2.8 million in 2011. American tourists lead the pack, ahead of Russia, France, Germany and Britain. Domestic tourism grew 3% (Ma’ariv, December 25).
4. Australia’s $30BN Woodside Petroleum (WPL) is acquiring 30% of the rights of Israel’s Leviathan offshore natural gas field licenses for $696MN upon signing the agreement in February, 2013, $200MN upon launching exports, $350MN upon final decision to invest in liquefied natural gas export facilities, 11.5% royalties up to $1BN and $50MN for immediate oil exploration underneath Leviathan. Woodside explores investment in additional Israeli offshore natural gas licenses (Globes, Dec. 4).
5. The $1.6BN Minnesota-based Stratasys merged with Israel’s $1.4BN Objet (3D printers manufacturer), a week following the acquisition of Israel’s Retalix, by NCR, for $800MN. Objet’s market value before the merger was $634MN (Globes, Dec. 4). The $10BN Wollingford, CT-based Amphenol acquired Israel’s Tel-Ad for $65MN; the US storage giant, EMC, made its 5th Israeli acquisition, More IT Resources, for $15MN. EMC employs 1,000 persons in its Israeli research and development centers (Globes, Dec. 3). Israel’s CrossRider was acquired by an overseas unidentified company for $37MN (Globes, Dec. 17). The Menlo Park-based Greylock Venture Partners and the Palo Alto-based Norwest Venture Partners led a$12MN 1st round of private placement by Israel’s ScaleIO (Globes, Dec. 11).
6. Google inaugurated its Israeli Start Ups Incubator, signaling its aim to expand its Israel operations (Globes, Dec. 11). The Holland-based Philips announced the establishment of a new research & development center in Israel, which will employ scores of scientists and engineers. Philip’s research & development center in Haifa – which coordinates special applications developed in Israel the US, Holland and India – employs 600 persons, specializing in CT 3D imaging (Globes, Dec. 13).
7. Electricite’ de France’s (EDF) renewable energy unit inaugurated its first three projects in Israel’s Negev – a $65MN investment. EDF plans additional ventures in Israel, demonstrating its confidence in the viability of Israel’s economy (Globes, Dec. 19).
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1. “[Australia’s] $30BN Woodside Petroleum is looking at taking an interest in the giant Leviathan gas field off the coast of Israel…. The Leviathan field, discovered in 2010, has an estimated 17 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas, making the biggest deep water gas discovery of the past ten years. 50-75% of the gas is slated for export…. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. bids for 30% of the rights to the Leviathan licenses. It is 50% higher than their market value. Woodside is one of the finalists in the licensees’ choice for a strategic partner.
“Woodside’s bid reflects a value of $7.5 billion, compared with analysts’ estimates of $4.7-5.5 billion for the gas field…. ‘Petroleum Intelligence Weekly’ reported that [Russia’s] Gazprom, Woodside and apparently South Korea’s Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas), are finalists in the Leviathan process…. [The Houston-based] Noble Energy [which controls 39.66% of Leviathan] prefers a Western partner for Leviathan.
“Woodside would fit the bill for Noble Energy: it is a veteran company with deep water expertise as well as building liquefied natural gas facilities for gas exports from its fields off Australia’s northwest coast. This area is considered the most developed in the world, attracting hundreds of billions of dollars in investment in onshore and floating LNG facilities” (Globes Business Daily, October 22, 2012).
2. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO 4th visit to Israel: “I’ve arrived to Israel, the high-tech country…. The integration between Microsoft and Israel is natural, because Israel’s high-tech industries are among the global leaders…. I’m energized and inspired by Israel’s innovative capabilities, which have made Israel an important arena for Microsoft….” (Globes, November 2).
3. Intel Corp. CEO Paul Otellini is in Israel: “We are perhaps the largest private employer in Israel (about 8,000 employees in the company’s development and production centers), and most of those employees have technological know-how. Some of our most sophisticated engineering efforts are carried out in Israel…. We have been in Israel for 40 years and we have done many things. We’re here for the long term and we will decide next year regarding our next factory.”
Otellini visits Israel in order to launch the company’s $5 million investment in Israeli high schools over the next four years, in partnership with the Ministry of Education. The project’s aim is to double the number of high school students completing their science and technology matriculation certificate (Globes, November 2).
4. According to the $56BN Swiss bank, UBS – which is currently expanding its Israel wealth management operations - Israel is among the top five promising economies with the highest growth potential.
5. “The UK law firm Berwin, Leighton Paisner (BLP) LLP, Britain’s fifth largest, with 1,000 attorneys worldwide, is expanding to Israel, opening an office in Tel Aviv as part of the expansion of its international operations. The firm’s customers include 59 companies on the Global Fortune 500 list. Its decision is a vote of confidence in Israeli economic growth…. ‘We’re here because the Israeli business world is heading in directions which we see as markets of the future, like China and the Far East…. BLP sees the steady business growth of Israeli companies’ activity in international markets….(Globes, Oct. 30).’”
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The Bank of Israel’s Supervisor of Banks David Zaken on Monday published a draft directive limiting the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio in housing loans, as of November 1, Globes reported.
The new directive stops banks from giving mortgages with an LTV of more than 70%, with an exception for first-time buyers, who are allowed mortgages of up to 75% of the value of the apartment.
Mortgage customers who buy an apartment for investment will be limited to 50% LTV. The directive will go into effect after a discussion in the Advisory Committee on Banking Matters.
The Bank of Israel announced:
“In recent years, we have seen negative developments in the housing market and the housing credit market. The draft directive has been published against the background of the marked increase in recent years in the balance of housing credit and the increase in home prices in Israel. Recent trends in the housing market indicate an increased number of transactions, an increase in the monthly level of mortgages granted and an increase in investors’ volume of activity, among other things against the background of the low interest rate environment in mortgages.
“These developments impact on the risk level inherent in the banks’ credit portfolio – the accelerated increase in the housing credit portfolio on banks’ balance sheets is liable to include risks to the stability of the banking system, primarily in light of the correlation between the housing credit portfolio and the construction and real estate credit portfolio. These represent, as of June 30, 2012, about 40 percent of total balance sheet credit risk.”
According to the Bank of Israel, many of the recent financial crises in foreign countries began with granting housing credit at terms that did not reflect the risks developing in that market.
The new directive is intended, says the Bank of Israel, to reduce the effects of a crisis in the real estate market by reducing the risk inherent in taking out a housing loan with a high loan-to-value ratio.