Exclusive: Cukierman to open $200 million Israel-China investment fund

Investment House is in the advanced stages of establishing fund for investing in Israeli companies that will operate in China.

By
June 20, 2013 23:34
2 minute read.
Edouard Cukierman (center), Manuel Trajtenberg (left) and Ronnie Chan (right), and other delgates.

Cukierman370. (photo credit: NIV ELIS)

Cukierman and Co. Investment House is in the advanced stages of establishing a $200 million fund for investing in Israeli companies that will operate in China, chairman Edouard Cukierman told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.

“We’re planting the seeds that will allow us to build the bridge from Israel to China,” he said.

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Despite heavily selling Israel’s “startup nation” brand, the fund will invest solely in mature companies. Most of the money will come from Chinese investors and traditional investors from the company’s Catalyst fund investors, he said.

Cukierman spoke during the company’s “GoForIsrael2” trip, which in association with the Foreign Ministry brought a high-level delegation of business leaders from China to build ties in Israel. The event is an offshoot of its “GoForEurope” series that sought deeper business connections between Israel and Europe and is an indication it is starting to shift its focus.

“We see the trend as more acquisitions from China than from Europe or America,” Cukierman said. “It may take a decade, but that’s the obvious trend.”

Antony K. Leung, Blackstone’s chairman for greater China and a member of the delegation, said, “China has the market; you have the technology.”

Cukierman initiated the GoForIsrael event at the insistence of Ronnie Chan, the chairman of the Hang Lung Group, among the Hong Kong’s largest real-estate developers.

Chan spoke Wednesday evening on an economic panel at the Presidential Conference alongside outgoing Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer and former US treasury secretary Larry Summers. Israel increasingly needed to look toward Asia, he said.

“How can you talk about a tomorrow without Asia? Europe is important, America is important, but Asia is increasingly important,” Chan said, citing a lack of Asians in attendance at the conference.

Over the past 20 years, China lifted 600 million people out of poverty and into the middle class, creating a new boom in demand for products, Chan said. As that process continues and China goes forward with plans to urbanize 250 million people by 2050, there will be extraordinary demand, both by people and the government, for innovative technology, he said, adding, “China loves Israel partly because of your technology.”

The picture is not entirely rosy, Chan said, because the mobility and technological changes also bring increased risks of social and political instability, though it is unclear when or how it will surface.

“In the meantime, it’s gonna boom like hell,” he said, adding that as a businessman, he can’t afford to miss that opportunity.

Cukierman gave another reason that China can be an attractive market for Israel as compared to Europe.

“I’ve experienced difficulty in selling Israel to Europe because of the geopolitical situation,” he said. “I have never heard the issue raised once in China.”


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