Business Briefs

Fortissimo takes stake in OneHour Translation; Foreign investment on TASE rose 250% in 2013.

Foreign currency reserves jumped $5.86b last year

Israel’s foreign currency reserves grew by $5.86 billion last year to a record $81.77 billion, the Bank of Israel reported on Sunday. The big rise was due to its policy of buying up dollars to stem the appreciation of the shekel and offset the effect of the Tamar gas field. In 2012, foreign reserves grew by just $1.03 billion and in 2011 by $3.96 billion, but in 2010 they ballooned by more than $10 billion after then-governor Stanley Fischer adopted a policy of aggressive foreign currency purchases. The huge reserves come at a cost to the Bank of Israel, which issues short-term notes to finance the dollar purchases. It pays higher interest on the notes than it earns (Moti Bassok)

Fortissimo takes stake in OneHour Translation on its dollar holdings

The private equity fund Fortissimo Capital said on Sunday it is buying a one-third stake in the startup company OneHour Translation for $10 million. OneHour Translation, which was formed in 2008, said it will use the proceeds to double its 50-person staff and hire developers as well as sales, customer service and support people. “We’ve grown organically until now, without investments, to become within two years the largest online translation service,” said Ofer Shoshan, CEO and one of the company’s founders. “Fortissimo’s investment will allow us to … become the largest professional translation service in the world.” Using an outsourcing model, it has more than 15,000 translators in 100 countries and serves half all Fortune 500 companies. (Orr Hirschauge)

Foreign investment on TASE rose 250% in 2013

Foreigners invested a net $1.4 billion in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-traded securities, a 250% increase over 2012, the Bank of Israel said on Sunday. They invested a net $730 million in Israeli shares traded in overseas markets. Foreigners were net sellers of Israeli government bonds to the tune of $2.8 billion in the first nine months of the year, but became buyers in October and November for a total of $400 million. In the other direction, Israelis have stepped up their securities investments abroad in recent months to $930 million in November alone. (Moti Bassok)