‘Israel is our bridge to the US’

Head of Poland’s largest IT company: ‘We are coming here because we want to learn, because we are impressed by Israeli achievements.’

By NADAV SHEMER
March 16, 2011 23:43
2 minute read.
Adam Goral,Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska, Moti Gutm

Adam Goral,Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska, Moti Gutman 311. (photo credit: Eyal Medina)

Israel is a natural bridge for central and eastern European companies looking to expand into the American market, the visiting head of Poland’s largest information-technology group said Wednesday.

“Our global ambitions are strongly connected to the American market. Who is the best from the preparation point of view to be the bridge to America? Israel,” Asseco Poland SA president and CEO Adam Goral said at a press conference at the Polish Embassy in Tel Aviv.

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Also in attendance were Polish Ambassador to Israel Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska and Moti Gutman, CEO of Israeli IT company Matrix.

The Asseco Group, Europe’s fifth-largest software vendor by sales, purchased a controlling stake in Israeli-based software- services firm Formula Systems, of which Matrix is a subsidiary, for up to $145 million in November.

Goral said Asseco had begun exploring options in Israel two years ago, stemming from its ambition to be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

He said his firm would benefit from the extra knowledge Israelis have in this area, particularly through its connection with Formula CEO Guy Bernstein, whose firm is already listed on NASDAQ.

“We are coming here because we want to learn, because we are impressed by Israeli achievements,” Goral said. “We had to pay a lot of money; for us this was a big investment. It was not easy to find such money for this, but I don’t have any doubt that this is a win-win project.”

The Polish market was not prepared for the investment because investors there didn’t appreciate what was being done in Israel, he said. But Israelis also lacked understanding of the benefits that could be obtained from working with the Polish market, he added.

Gutman echoed Goral’s remarks, describing the deal with Asseco as not just an acquisition, but instead enabling the Polish company “access to a very big talent pool” of about 4,300 IT professionals in Israel.

For Matrix, he said, “it will be much easier to expose and to introduce our products to countries where Asseco is a major player in those economies, in terms of the IT economy.”

Magdziak-Miszewska agreed with Goral that Israeli stereotypes about working with Poland must be countered, saying the eastern European nation had transformed itself into a modern country worthy of investment.

“In Israel people look at Poland as the biggest Jewish graveyard in the world, which is unfortunately a fact,” she said. “[And for Poles], there is also the image [of Israel], especially lately, of an unstable region, of dangerous threats. But it is in the common interests of both of our governments to convince the people, especially in business, to build trust.”


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