Edouard Cukierman and Roger Cukierman 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Cukierman and Co.)
European stock exchanges are more welcoming to Israeli companies than they were
two decades ago and will provide a real long-term alternative to the US,
according to the chairman of Cukierman and Co. Investment House, Israel’s
largest European-focused investment house.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post
on Sunday, one day ahead of his firm’s annual Go4Europe conference, Edouard
Cukierman said European investors perceived Israeli companies as risky when his
investment house was established in 1993. But increasing European
familiarization with Israeli technology has helped overturn that perception, he
“It was not easy to sell Israeli equities to Europeans,” Cukierman
said about the first attempts to take a company public. In addition to European
reluctance, it was too difficult to find an Israeli company that was ready to
move to a stock exchange on the continent, he said.
No Israeli company
conducted an initial public offering in Europe before 1997, but things have
changed markedly since then.
Eighty-four Israeli companies raised money
on the continent through IPOs by the end of 2011. Israeli firms conducted more
IPOs in Europe than they did in the US between 2005 and 2011.
and Co. Investment House has engaged in transactions worth almost 4 billion
euros through private placements, IPOs and mergers and acquisitions. It has
facilitated more than half the IPOs involving Israeli companies in France,
Germany and Switzerland. But it has been less involved in the UK, where most
Israeli companies have gone public on the Alternative Investment Market for
smaller growing companies.
In addition to greater awareness, Cukierman
believes Europe is an attractive long-term alternative to the US because going
public on the Nasdaq requires a market cap of at least $200 million – an
unattainable figure for most Israeli companies.
Plus, he added,
regulatory issues will ensure that things do not get any easier in the
Cukierman’s father, Roger, a board member of Cukierman and former CEO
of the Edmond de Rothschild banking group, also participated in Sunday’s
interview. He provided a general view of the economic situation in Europe,
arguing that the worst of the euro zone’s currency problems are in the past, but
that growth can only be spurred by embracing “the innovative spirit” of
countries such as Israel.
Cooperation between Europe and Israel could
prove effective for the Europeans, Cukierman senior said.
American multinationals such as Google, Apple and Motorola conduct much of their
research and development activities in Israel, European companies have not yet
taken full advantage of Israeli expertise, he said.
“All the big American
companies adopted this as a general policy,” he said, but “the Europeans can do