Expert view: Israeli stars want to list in London

By Jonathan Morris, October 23, 2008

As we grow accustomed to ever more depressing economic news, it is hard to imagine the day when we will, once again, witness Israeli companies travelling to London to try their luck with a listing on the main market or AIM. However, that day will surely come, which perhaps explains why, despite the understandable pessimism currently enveloping us, the London Stock Exchange is looking to the future and making another one of their regular visits to Israel next month.

So why does the Stock Exchange consider Israel such a key market? The answer is all to do with numbers: by the end of 2007, about 40 Israeli/Israel-related companies had floated their shares on one of the London markets. This followed a heavy blitz of seminars in Israel arranged by the Stock Exchange, the British embassy, various investment banks and other intermediaries.

Since then, of course, a number of those companies have been either bought out, taken private or delisted from the London market - this is true of non-Israeli companies as well.

At the same time, a number of the Israeli companies have performed very well since coming to the market.
For example, Amiad Filtration Systems Ltd, which produces and supplies water filters and filtration systems worldwide, recently announced an increase in turnover of 44 per cent to $39.5m and in profits before tax of 47 per cent to $5.4m for the first six months of this year, in comparison to the same period in 2007.

The company, which is headquartered on Kibbutz Amiad in Northern Israel, listed on AIM in December 2005. Similarly, Dori Media Group Ltd, which is based near Tel Aviv and produces and distributes telenovelas - a TV genre which attracts huge audiences particularly in Latin America, but also in Germany, Russia, India and Israel - saw its revenues up 119 per cent to $27.8m and its gross profits up 43 per cent to US$13.1m in the first half of 2008, as compared to the corresponding period in 2007.

Whilst it is true that these companies are not currently vying for entry into the FTSE 100, they will, hopefully, continue to be seen as good role models when the next wave of Israeli companies is looking to go public in London. That may not be on the cards for quite a while yet, but it will happen.

Jonathan Morris is a partner at the law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

Last updated: 5:06pm, October 23 2008