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The market for initial public offerings is ending an extremely quiet year. Over the past 12 months there were just 10 IPOs, and only one was in 2008.

As if that were not enough, only one of the 10 shares appreciated, while the other nine have suffered double-digit losses of 10%-80%. One of the hardest hit was Shmuel Slavin's Sella Capital REIT Investments, the only IPO so far this year, which was handled by Excellence Underwriting.

In less than six months Sella's share price has plummeted 53%, and is in third place on list of poorest-performing share issues in the past 12 months. The fund had a market value of NIS 130 million in March, and is now trading at just NIS 67 million.

Sella Capital's performance is not surprising. Not only was the IPO conducted when the capital markets were losing ground; the fund's operations are in the real estate industry, one of the main casualties of the global credit crisis.

What is surprising is the list of institutional investors that participated in the IPO. These institutional investors decided the time was right to sink the money under their management - the public's savings and investments - into a real estate investment trust fund.

The list of substantial shareholders in Sella's REIT is topped by Migdal Insurance's provident funds, with 18.5%. DS Apex, which participated in the underwriting consortium, owns 15.2% of the fund.

IBI investment house has 11.4%, and Excellence has 10.65%.

While the provident funds and mutual funds managed by the institutional investors lost tens of millions of shekels, the underwriters affiliated with those same financial institutions did not come up short, but rather earned NIS 1.3 million in commissions for handling the offering.