Sales of goods produced by kibbutz industries totalled NIS 11.6 billion shekels in the first half of 2005, 11.2 percent more than in the first half of 2004, the Kibbutz Industries Association said Tuesday. The group attributed the above-average rise to new partnerships and purchases of factories in Israel and abroad. Sales to the domestic market grew 12.3%. â€œ2005 is showing itself to be a year of growth in kibbutz industries at a level beyond the average growth in the economy and Israeli industry as a whole,â€ said Yonatan Melamed, the associationâ€™s chairman. â€œThe growth in sales strengthens kibbutz industries as an attractive destination for investors.â€ Sales of Israeli industry as a whole, excluding diamonds, rose 9.4% in the first half of the year. Actions leading the growth include an initial public offering and acquisitions by Plastrogvat, based in Kibbutz Gvat, which also formed a partnership with a foreign company. Meanwhile, Albad, a producer of non-woven cloths based in Tel Yitzhak established new facilities in the US and Lod and Plazit, a producer of plastic panels in Kibbutz Gazit, purchased and expanded a factory in Bulgaria. Among leading kibbutz industries, sales of plastic products surged 12.5%, food products grew 10%, and sales of metals 2.8%, according to the sample surveyed. Small kibbutz factories, or those with sales of up to NIS 30 million yearly, boosted sales fully 23% in the first half of the year, on average. Gross earnings of kibbutz industry as a whole rose 11.1%, while operating profit grew 9.2%, the association said.