Arison invests in water technology venture [p. 17]

Shari Arison, controlling shareholder of Bank Hapoalim Ltd., is planning to establish a $100 million investment venture for water technology solutions, as part of the Arison group's investments into sustainability projects. "The participation and investment in water projects is part of the vision and stems from the understanding that in order to ensure the existence of future generations, we need to invest in the environment in, for example, clean energy and water," said Arison. Arison, chairman of Arison Holdings Ltd., signed a contract with Buky Oren, former chairman of Mekorot, Israel's National Water Company, for investment into the development of projects in the field of water technology. In September, Housing and Construction, in which Arison has a 35.7 percent stake, won the bid with IDE Technologies to build the Hadera desalination plant. On Wednesday, On Arison Holdings came to an agreement with Housing & Construction employees led by Chief Executive Officer Uzi Vardi-Zer, to buy another 20% of the company at NIS 6.18 per share. In the initial phase of the new venture, which will start its activity in a couple of months, Oren will develop a detailed business plan outlining the activities of the venture and identify companies and projects for investment. The investment vehicle has an interest in companies that have complementary and unique technologies at different stages of development and whose products are aimed at the global market. Next week, an international delegations of scientists, industrialists and academics from Hong Kong, China, Australia, Europe, Africa and the Palestinian Authority will gather at a global conference at the Water Research Center in Sde Boker to discuss the relations between academic research and the private sector in all that relates to water solutions, production of new water and improving the quality of water. "It is important to provide exposure and disclose the inventions, which are developed at academic institutes and research centers, to potential investors and industrialists in the water sector," said Eilan Adar, director of the Zuckerman Institute for Water Research in Sde Boker. "There is a lot of material in academia and research centers, which partly can be applied for the development of products." At the three-day conference, which will start on Tuesday, the "National Center for Advanced Water Solutions," will be launched in the presence of Shimon Peres, Minister for the Development of the Galilee and the Negev; Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Minister of National Infrastructure; MK Avishai Braverman; and the President of the Ben-Gurion University Prof. Rivka Carmi. As part of the government's NIS 120m. program to advance the water technology sector, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, together with a delegation of representatives of Israeli water technology companies, this week visited the Madrid water company in an effort to forge ties and open ways of cooperation. The Madrid water company provides water for 6 million customers. The ministry said the Spanish water companies showed much interest in the water solutions technologies of Israeli companies, which offered relevant and advanced solutions to the challenges the water market in Madrid was facing. Over the next few months, another meeting to advance cooperation and activities between Israeli companies and their Spanish counterparts is planned.