The industrial sector placed offerings for a total of NIS 17 billion on the local stock market this year, less than half of the NIS 39.3b. raised in 2006 although many more companies participated in the financings. "The number of industrial companies raising capital on the stock exchange, which increased by 50% in 2007 to 100, is expected to continue to expand by another 25% in 2008 to 125 companies," said Pinchas Kimmelmann, director of the forum of chief financial officers at the Manufacturers Association of Israel and deputy CFO at Osem Investments. The trend towards fewer offerings also was seen continuing. "The expected slowdown in the pace of capital raisings in the coming year is supported by the expected rise in interest rates over the course of 2008 and estimates that the highs which characterized the markets this year will not continue with the same magnitude," he added. The Assocaition noted that 2006 was an exceptional year in terms of offering volume, mainly because of huge offerings placed by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries over the course of the year. Of the NIS 17b. in capital raised in shares and bonds by the 100 industrial companies this year, about NIS 6b., or 36%, were bond offerings compared with 13% in 2006. According to the latest figures provided by the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, there were a total of 811 listed on the exchange of which 211 were categorized as industrial companies. Kimmelmann added that the wave of public offerings this year was an indicator for the continued expansion and growth of the non-banking sector and the reduction in the dominance of the banks as the source of financing for the business sector. Furthermore, industrial companies listed on the TASE increased their sales by 2% in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year, gross profits rose 9%, while operating profits fell 0.5%. The research carried out by the Manufacturers Association among 187 listed industrial companies generating a total sales volume of NIS 92.7b. in the first half of the year, showed that the rise in profitability and sales growth derived mainly from Teva.