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Shares in kibbutz-run companies have outperformed the Tel Aviv-100 by 40 percentage points since the beginning of 2003, according to Tamir Fishman Underwriters. Kibbutz company shares soared by 110 percent since January 2003 compared to a 70 percent rise in the TA-100 index in the same period, Tamir Fishman staff reported at an Israel Management Center conference this weekend.

Tamir Fishman based its study on the performance of the following: Gan Shmuel (citrus processing and packaging), Albaad (wet wipes), Maabarot (powdered food for both babies and pets), Palram (thermoplastic sheeting), Plasson (plastic products for the water, gas and telecom industries), Kafrit (masterbatches and compounds for the plastic industry) and Evrot (metals) - all kibbutz-based companies.

Shai Yitzhaki, CEO of Tamir Fishman Underwriters, said he believed the capital market regards kibbutz companies in a favorable light for several reasons, among them: their long-term views (also on the part of the kibbutz owners themselves), relatively few dealings with controling shareholders, the professionalism of company management, and the facts that the managers rarely star in "fat-cat tables" and that many of the ventures have weathered difficult times, emerging stronger and fitter.

Yitzhaki noted that the first quarter was particularly good for share issues, although the second was significantly more difficult. Market conditions today, he said, favored large companies with market presence of at least NIS 200 million, professional management and exporters with a good chance of continued growth.

Sam Bronfeld, director of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, said that the kibbutz sector was underrepresented on the stock exchange. In terms of stock issue, Bronfeld said the kibbutz companies were very similar to those belonging to family firms and state-owned enterprises.

Gad Soen of the Association of Publicly Traded Companies said that the kibbutzim had trod a comparatively long path to reach the market, but now they recognize the exchange as a legitimate tool for their plants' futures. Though stock issues had associated costs, disclosure obligations and obstacles, the process was a recognized opportunity for the kibbutzim to reach their potential, grant kibbutz members share allocations, exchange debts and improve investments.