Israelis make a splash at Unterberg

Israeli companies made their presence felt at the C.E. Unterberg Towbin annual emerging growth conference in New York this week with the host continuing to express its confidence in the local healthcare and technology markets. Twenty of the 120 companies that made presentations to approximately 300 investors at the two-day conference were from Israel. The high concentration of Israeli participants was was a deliberate decision on Unterberg's part. "There are some very exciting technologies coming out of Israel and since our investor base looks for industry growth, we try to focus on sections of the market and geographies where we can get that," James Mcilree, director of research at Unterberg told The Jerusalem Post. "Israel is one of those countries that have this in the technology and healthcare sectors." While presentations coincided with the upsurge in violence in the northern region and Gaza, which caused a steep plunge in Tel Aviv stocks, Mcilree was confident the geopolitical situation would not discourage potential investors in the Israeli companies. "You have to think in terms of global markets. There is uncertainty around the world and Israel is part of that uncertainty, but I don't think there has been a change in how investors are perceiving investments in Israel," he said. "While they don't ignore it, investors focus on picking out high quality companies that are growing and clearly there are a large number of high quality, growth companies coming out of Israel." Among the companies that made presentations Tuesday and Wednesday were BluePhoenix, Camtek, Ceragon, Ceva, Compugen, ECI, ECTel, Leadcom, Metalink, M-Systems, Ness, Orckit, Orpak, Retalix, Shamir Optics, Supercom, Top Image Systems, Tower Semiconductor and Viryanet. Mcilree explained, however, that the conference was more an opportunity for the companies to make their stories known to investors rather than carrying out any immediate fundraising activities. Investors who attended the conference have the potential to invest anywhere between $1 million and $20m. so effective company exposure was likely pay off in the long-term, he said. For Unterberg, the presentations gave the firm the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate its outlook on the companies it covers. Over the two days it reiterated its "buy" recommendations on Tower, Ness, ECI, M-Systems and Orpak, and its "market perform" rating for Supercomm and Retalix. Since opening its office in Herzliya in 2004, Unterberg has completed 16 transactions for Israeli companies.