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No fewer than 85 prospectuses have been submitted to the Israel Securities Authority indicating plans to raise capital by the end of May 2005. This unprecedented number reflects growing corporate bullishness. Most offerings would be either bonds or convertible bonds, allowing them to take advantage of low interest rates in an optimistic market. At the same time, the high level of bond issues attests perhaps to the notion that the equity markets are not yet ripe.

The closing window of opportunity to raise capital based on 2004 financial reports is also stirring the May race. Some 80 percent of the offerings will be for secondary issues, with the remainder coming from new companies.

Given that smaller companies will raise NIS 50-70 million on average and larger companies over NIS 100 million on average, the total scope of capital raised could easily amount to several billion shekels.