LSE interested in Israeli market
Amira Lis, London
â€œThe London Stock Exchange (LSE) has a long-term commitment to Israel,â€ said LSE chief executive Clara Furse, welcoming a delegation of 25 Israeli executives. The CFOs were attending a seminar last week on economic, legal, and insurance matters that affect Israeli companiesâ€™ penetration of the British market. The seminar was arranged by the Israel Export Instituteâ€™s finance division and Israelâ€™s counsellor for commercial affairs in London. Participating companies and organizations included the Bank of Israel, Nexus Telecommunication Systems (Nasdaq: NXUS), Indigo NV (Nasdaq: INDG), Ashot Ashkelon, Phone-Or, Pharmos (Nasdaq: PARS), and D-Pharm.
The visitâ€™s highlight was a tour of the LSE. The condition of the New York Stock Exchange has created a window of opportunity for European exchanges. Nine Israeli companies are currently listed on the LSE: Bank Hapoalim (BKHD); BATM Advanced Communications (BVC); Dmatek (DTK); Dor Energy (DORD); Emblaze Systems (BLZ); Partner Communications (PCCD); Sadot R&D (SDT); Technoplast Industries (TNP); and XTL Biopharmaceuticals (XTL).
â€œWe look forward to our links becoming even closer,â€ said Furse. â€œWe would very much like to work with more Israeli companies. Indeed, we’re committed to raising the profile of the LSE in Israel and we expect to trade the securities of more Israeli companies in the future.â€
Furse stressed Londonâ€™s historical, cultural, legal, and financial links with Israel, noting that bilateral trade exceeds $3 billion annually. She said Israeli companies are increasingly interested in trading their securities in London. Furse noted, â€œWe have a mature equity culture in London and investors who are experienced in investing overseas and capable of placing international and economic developments in the proper perspective.â€
The LSEâ€™s historical importance makes it one of Europeâ€™s leading exchanges and more multinational companies trade on the exchange than any other stock exchange in the world. It has an impressive system of supporting services, including Europeâ€™s highest concentration of financial analysts and experts. The LSE is considered to be one of the worldâ€™s largest international capital markets in terms of liquidity, with an annual international turnover of ?5.4 trillion. Despite these impressive numbers, the stock market crisis has not left it unscathed. Figures show that there have been only 20 issues so far this year, compared with 318 in 2000.
The LSE is striving to turn the Alternate Investment Market (AIM),LSEâ€™s global market for young and growing companies, and the TechMARK index into international exchanges. This logical expansion will benefit all the listed companies. After completing the first stage of the European marketing plan, the LSE plans to launch a global campaign. This is where Israel enters the picture, since the LSE emphasizes markets with high corporate concentrations. Israel is in the same category in this area as India and Japan.
During the visit to the LSE, the Israeli delegation was briefed by Adv. Avram Kelman of Londonâ€™s Fladgate Fielders Lawyers on the legal aspects of floating procedures, dual listing, and the hurdles Israeli companies would be likely to encounter. Kelman is an Israeli attorney who has been admitted to the British, New York, and New Zealand bars. He has assisted the deals of several Israeli companies in Britain and focused on LSE listings. He helped float BATM, Dmatek, Sadot R&D, and Zen Research (LSE: ZEN).
The delegation also visited the law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, a new firm created by the merger of two established London law firms. The firm has been ranked 15th among the cityâ€™s top law firms, and is ranked among the top 10 in London in terms of handling share issues.
The delegation was addressed by a panel of venture capital experts, including Marcus Venture Consulting managing director Lucy Marcus and Eurovestech chief executive Richard Bernstein. Eurovestech invests in Israeli and pan-European companies. The two directors presented the opportunities open to Israeli companies and the benefits of venture capital investment.