Israeli investment firms brought over NIS 15 billion in public offerings to market in the first half of 2007, according to a Business Data Israel report released Tuesday that ranked Poalim IBI in the top spot in terms of offerings led with 35 deals and NIS 7.6b. underwritten. The underwriters were able to raise this sum through a combination of lowered interest rates, strengthening of the shekel, and general economic growth in Israel, according to BDI economists. The growth in investments, especially following last summer's war in Lebanon, signifies a restored confidence in the Israeli economy, said Tehila Yanai, co-CEO of BDI-Coface. The immediate cause for the growth in underwritten investments, though, was the public offering of state-owned Oil Refineries (Bazan) in February, led by Poalim IBI, which brought in NIS 3.7b. British Israel Investments also had a large public offering, led by Excellence Nessuah, raising NIS 860m. Clal Finance's offering, led by Clal Finance Underwriting, contributed 557m. Of the 110 public offerings in the first half, 56% were first-time deals, while 40 percent of the total came from the real estate field and 20% were from R&D and technology, according to BDI. Following Poalim IBI in the rankings in terms of most offerings led were Clal Finance, with 19 and about NIS 2.9m. underwritten; Apex Finance with 13 offerings and NIS 1.1m.; Leader with 14 offerings and NIS 1m.; and Excellence Nessuah, with four offerings and NIS 1m. underwritten. In the rankings in terms of most involvement in offerings, Altshuler Shaham tied for first place with Analyst Underwriting, with 54 offerings, but brought about NIS 720,000 less to market than Analyst's NIS 5.6m. Poalim IBI was next with 45 offerings and NIS 8.4m. underwritten; Apex with 44 offerings and NIS 9.2m.; and Clal Finance with 34 offerings and NIS 9.3m. underwritten.