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Company News

Tel Aviv bourse sees investor interest from UAE, Arab countries

JERUSALEM, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is expected to gain new investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Arab countries in 2021 in the wake of a normalisation between Israel and the UAE, the bourse’s chief executive said on Tuesday.

“We see an interest for international institutions from the Emirates and from other Arab countries to invest through the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and get exposure to Israeli high tech,” Itai Ben-Zeev told Reuters after a news conference.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) and Abu Dhabi’s ADX securities market last week signed a memorandum of understanding to foster co-operation between them, with the expectation of cross-listing of securities, mutual trading and introduction of investors by each their respective members and data-sharing.

“In 2021, we’ll see how we can further collaborate between the two exchanges,” Ben-Zeev said.

The U.S.-brokered formalisation of ties between the United Arab Emirates and Israel on Sept. 15 has paved the way for commercial deals in various fields, with the UAE particularly interested in Israeli technology, such as financial and food tech.

The TASE was among the best performing exchanges with a 7% decline this year after a 21% rise in 2019, with Ben-Zeev attributing some of that to more retail investment that drove average daily equity turnover up 43% in 2020 to 1.9 billion shekels ($588 million).

About a third of daily trading stems from dual-listed companies that are also traded in the United States, London, Toronto, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Of the 30 companies that listed on the exchange this year, 19 were high-tech and the bourse expects “dozens” of high-tech companies to list in the coming months.

Tech firms have typically preferred other ways of financing such as private rounds, M&A and listing on the Nasdaq and other overseas exchanges.

In all, total equity capital raising increased in 2020 to 16.3 billion shekels from 13.3 billion last year and another 66.8 billion shekels was raised through corporate bonds.

There are 454 companies listed on the TASE, with a market cap of 819 billion shekels.

$1 = 3.2325 shekels Reporting by Steven Scheer Editing by Robert Birsel

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