20 July 2018 - 8 Av 5778 - ח' אב ה' אלפים תשע"ח
Bank Leumi and Bank of China agree to extend credit to Israeli companies operating in China E-mail

Bank of China has signed a partnership agreement with Israel’s Bank Leumi to cofund Israeli companies working in China, Bank Leumi announced on 18 January.

Bank of China is one of China’s four largest banks and is considered the second-largest lender in the country. Bank Leumi is one of the two largest banks in Israel.

According to the agreement, Israeli companies that have operations in China could receive local credit directly from Bank of China, based on guarantees from Bank Leumi, or through a joint credit line extended by the two banks.

Bank Leumi said that the two banks have agreed to extend up to US$100 million in credit in each of the next two years, up to a total of US$200 million. As part of the agreement, which was signed by Leumi Group Chairman, David Brodet, and Bank of China Vice President, Gao Yingxin, Israeli companies operating in China will be able to receive credit in local currency (Yuan), with the credit being granted in two ways: directly by Bank of China and with the guarantee of Bank Leumi, or by means of a credit line to be established jointly by the two banks.

So far, foreign companies operating in the Chinese market have had difficulty obtaining credit from local banks, which has made it harder for them to penetrate the local market or to increase the volume of their business.

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Japanese firm might buy an Israeli credit card company E-mail

According to Globes, Credit Saison, one of Japan’s largest credit card companies, is interested in purchasing either Leumi Card or Isracard.

The two firms are the largest credit card companies in Israel. Officials from Credit Saison visited Israel late last year. The two credit card companies are up for sale as the result of a law passed by the Knesset in 2017 that requires the banks that own them – Hapoalim for Isracard and Leumi for LeumiCard – to sell the companies.

The banks have three years to find buyers, and have begun shopping around. Credit Saison is the first major international firm to take an interest in the Israeli firms.

Many foreign credit firms have long attempted to enter the Israeli market, but have been unsuccessful. Israeli consumers pay among the highest levels of consumer credit, with interest rates ranging between 8% and 12%.

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Singapore FinTech and City TLV association sign MOU E-mail

The Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) and the Israeli City TLV association have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to foster greater FinTech co-operation between the two communities.

The MOU signed between the non-profit associations on 18 December last year aims to bridge the two FinTech ecosystems, through cross border collaboration and initiatives. The leaders of the two associations took part in a joint televised conference on SMEs, and an Israeli delegation attended the Singapore Fintech Festival in November.

Further exchanges are planned to link these two hubs, which share similar profiles as leaders in technology with impeccable reputations for business services. Shmuel BenTovim, President of City TLV said: “Singapore is an important partner in our global FinTech network. They set a fine example of the potential for FinTech, with natural synergies between Israel and Singapore, enforced by our shared ambition for excellence in innovation and technology and the friendly relations between the two governments. City TLV will aim to include in the implementation of the MOU all relevant associations in Israel, including The Floor, Fintech Aviv, IATI, Israel Export Institute and Start-up Nation. This MOU is another example of our focused efforts to enable a global FinTech ecosystem which can generate returns for all stakeholders.”

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Food fair provides export opportunities for Vietnamese beer and food E-mail

The first Asian food fair in Tel Aviv, held in mid-November, impressed the Israeli people, who especially liked the Saigon beer brand from Vietnam.

The fair promoted food and beverage products from Asian countries such as India, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Tibet and Vietnam.

It was the first time Saigon beer had been on sale in Israel. Saigon beer had appointed a leading Israeli import and export company, Diplomat, which has a strong network of retailers and restaurants in the country.

Speaking at the event, the General Director of Diplomat, Roni Bornstein, said he was impressed with the products from Vietnam at the fair. Diplomat decided to import the Vietnamese beer to the Israeli market because it is one of the most famous products in terms of high quality and design.

He said his company took over two years to persuade the Israeli authorities to issue a licence to import the beer to Israel due to barriers such as quality and food safety. Now, the wording on the beer bottles is printed in Hebrew, and the beer is produced in accordance with Kosher standards.

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VBL Therapeutics teams up with Japanese company for drug trial E-mail

In November, Israeli company VBL Therapeutics, which develops treatments for brain and ovarian cancer, signed an agreement with Japanese company NanoCarrier to commercialise VBL’s technology in Japan.

In return for granting marketing rights to its drug to NanoCarrier, VBL will receive a US$15-million advance and more payments according to various targets. The total payment will be up to US$100 million. VBL will also receive more than 10% royalties on sales.

VBL’s leading product is in Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of glioblastoma. A Phase III trial of the drug for treatment of ovarian cancer is scheduled to begin by the end of the year. NanoCarrier will be responsible for special trials in Japan, if necessary, and for the regulatory process. This deal can indicate the potential market opportunity for commercialising the drug anywhere in the world.

Japan is the world’s second largest pharmaceutical market after the US, while the US market combined with the European market is three times the size of the Japanese market. Success in Phase III trials can push up the company’s market cap by a factor of up to 10.

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