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Seeking to capitalize on the sector's growth, a new fund was launched to invest in kibbutz enterprises and real estate initiatives.
The Katzir Fund, formed by accountant Rami Mandola, formerly of Ernst & Young Israel - Kost Forer Gabbay & Kaiserer, together with Bank Hapoalim and the Harel insurance investment group, was expected to raise a total of about $60 million over the next few months, including some $20m. raised to date. About $40m. was seen coming from domestic sources and $20m. from abroad.
"In order for the [kibbutz] enterprises to continue growing in the coming years as well, [further] private or public offerings will be required," the fund's spokesman said, noting that kibbutz companies are among the largest private-sector industrial enterprises in the country. Several investment initiatives worth about $3m. each are currently being examined, a spokesman for the fund said.
The fund is seeking investments capable of providing a yearly yield of 20 percent to 25%.
Israel's 267 kibbutzim count 320 enterprises and 10 civil corporations for a total population of about 100,000 members, the spokesman noted, valuing total investment in the kibbutz industry at NIS 23 billion, not including Tnuva dairies.
Between 1993 and 2005, kibbutz companies raised NIS 1.5 billion in 19 stock offerings, of which NIS 750m. was raised in 11 offers in 2003 and 2004 alone. The fund's investment committee includes Tivall-Osem's Gazi Kaplan of Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot; Shaul Ashkenazi of Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael, chairman of the board of directors of Plasson, the kibbutz's plastics manufacturer; and Yossi Hevron of Kibbutz Gvat's Plastro Irrigation Systems.