Israel companies profit from popularity on London Stock Exchange

By Sandy Rashty, February 26, 2015
Ready for business: opening the London Stock Exchange on Monday (Photo: Blake Ezra Photography)

Ready for business: opening the London Stock Exchange on Monday (Photo: Blake Ezra Photography)

More Israeli companies were listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) than from any other foreign country in 2014, it was announced this week.

UK investors attending a summit at the LSE on Monday were told that interest in Israeli companies had grown steadily.

Speaking at the event, Gal Haber, co-founder of LSE-listed Israeli company Plus500, which was valued at more than $1bn last year, said: “Enthusiasm is growing over time in the UK, it is welcoming Israeli companies more than it did in the past and I think it should keep on that way.

“Maybe it’s not as sexy - maybe we’re not welcomed with such enthusiasm as the United States might welcome us - but I think it’s growing over time and there are a lot more companies listed over here and all of these companies have done really well.”

Mr Haber added that the benefits of listing in the UK was that the country was nearer to Israel than the US and that British investors provided an intelligent market.

Professor Leo Leiderman, chief economist at Bank Hapoalim, said the Israeli economy had recovered quickly after a dip during Operation Protective Edge last summer.

More than 140 people attended the Israel Investor Summit event organised by UK Israel Business, a leading organisation promoting bilateral trade ties.

Hugo Bieber, the chief executive of UK Israel Business, said: “That more Israeli companies listed on the LSE than from any other country excluding the UK in 2014 demonstrates the appeal of Israeli businesses to British investors.

“The size of our capital markets, the maturity of investors and the proximity to Israel all make London a natural home for Israeli companies and we look forward to seeing a number of new listings this year.”

John Millar, the head of primary markets at the LSE, said: “The summit comes at a time of buoyed interest from Israeli businesses seeking capital abroad. 2014 was a record year for Israeli companies listing in London. We welcomed six Israeli firms to London, the highest number of companies from a country outside of the UK, bringing the total number of Israeli firms to 19 on our markets.”

He described Israel as a “phenomenal source of innovation”, adding: “We look forward to continuing to develop the strong friendship and business ties between both of our countries and supporting Israel’s entrepreneurial spirit, a force driving the country’s economic success.”

British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould welcomed the announcement. He said: “I’m delighted so many Israeli companies are listing in London. London offers many advantages for Israeli companies - appropriate regulation, the English language, more banks than anywhere else in the world, real excitement about what Israel has to offer, and all less than five hours flight away.”

Last updated: 1:07pm, February 26 2015