The country's manufacturers are increasingly issuing stocks or bonds on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in order to raise capital, with the number of companies doing so projected to grow some 60 to 70 percent this year, the Manufacturers Association of Israel said Sunday. "This wave of financing is a result of a combination of factors, including the strength of the overall economy, the growth of the stock exchange, low interest rates (which encourage companies to issue stocks or bonds) and also a contraction of the bureaucracies involved in raising capital due to the work of the Barnea Committee (which produced more transparency among companies listing on the exchange), said Pinhas Kimmelman, chairman of the Forum of Chief Financial Officers in the Association. According to Kimmelman, some 66 companies raised NIS 34.4 billion through public offerings in 2006 and he predicted the number would grow to 110 companies with combined total financing reaching approximately NIS 27.5 billion by the end of 2007. The main reason for far fewer companies raising more money in 2006 than is projected to be raised in 2007, the Association explained, was some that some NIS 30b. in 2006 came came from just one company -Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. "Take that away and you are left with only NIS 4b. for the other 65 companies. Therefore, the numbers projected for 2007 are a big jump above those in 2006," Association spokesman Danny Laish told The Jerusalem Post. The Association also noted that last year all manufacturing sectors, led by the electronics branch with 21% growth, recorded a rise in sales. The chemical manufacturing sector logged a 19% increase; the metals sector 15% growth; and rubber and plastics rose 14%. With a sales increase of only 4.5%, the clothing manufacturing sector recorded the slowest growth among the manufacturing sectors, the group said.