Nasdaq expects increase in IPOs from Israeli firms

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Nasdaq expects a stronger year for initial public offerings (IPO) of Israeli firms than it had in 2013, the stock exchange's vice chairman said on Sunday.

"Last year there were four IPOs and they had on average an 85 per cent increase since the IPO. So the Israeli companies do well on Nasdaq," Meyer Frucher told Reuters during a visit to Tel Aviv.

"There are a lot of (Israeli) companies, a number of companies that we are engaged in various levels of conversations with. We did four last year, we think we'll do more this year," he said.

His positive outlook echoed the one given by London Stock Exchange officials who visited Israel last month and said they also expect a boost in 2014 for Israeli companies.

With 90 companies valued at US$40 billion (S$49.9 billion) already traded on Nasdaq, Israel is second only to China in the amount of foreign firms it has listed.

There have been three Israeli IPOs since the start of the year and four more are in the process of going public on Nasdaq.

"A lot of companies incubate on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and move to Nasdaq," he said, adding that a majority of them are jointly listed. "That works very well because we are in different time zones and different trading zones and so it just extends the trading."

Two main problems Israeli companies face are finding initial capital investment and then being able to maintain themselves as global entities, he said. Nasdaq hopes to attract them by offering broad corporate services to tackle those challenges.

Frucher said Nasdaq has also been talking with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange about working together to help early stage companies grow.

"There is a private market that Nasdaq is setting up. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange has expressed interest in such an exchange, that is for companies that are not yet ready to list on any market, but are seeking early stage capital investment,"he said. "The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is looking at our experience ... there are a lot of discussions going on about different ideas," he said.