Business in Brief

High-tech leads rise in industrial production; The Bank of Israel's state-of-the-economy index rose 0.1% in December, following the steady trend of moderate growth in recent months.

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High-tech leads rise in industrial production

High tech led a 3.8% annualized increase in industrial production during September and November, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Sunday. Manufacturing of high-tech products grew at an annualized 10.9%, while that of lower-tech goods edged higher at rates of between 0.4% and 0.7%. Production of traditional goods slumped 6.7%, the CBS said. The dichotomy was also reflected in jobs, where employment in manufacturing declined at a 0.4% annual rate over the two months, even as jobs in high-tech manufacturing grew 0.3%, the CBS reported. For the first 11 months of the year, manufacturing production was 3.3% higher than the same time in 2011, while high-tech production was up 8.8%. (Moti Bassok )

Maintenance costs at luxury high-rises up 12%

Costs to manage and maintain a 100-unit luxury apartment high-rise have risen about NIS 120,000 a year, representing a 12% increase, according to Tamir Mintz, director of the Homes and Buildings Association and CEO of MMM Holdings and Management. Mintz attributes the increase to the recent 1% hike in value-added tax, higher rates for electricity and water, and a boost in the minimum wage. Many are coping by reducing services for savings of up to 30%, such as limiting swimming pool hours or closing them during the winter, cutting back on perimeter security, or firing fitness room instructors, says Mintz. The impression that wealthy residents of opulent buildings aren't sensitive to management and upkeep fees is false, he maintains, even if they are willing to pay NIS 5,000 a month for maintenance, facilities and services. (Nimrod Bousso )

Israeli start-up Intigua announced Sunday the completion of its first round of funding for $8.6 million, led by Bessemer Venture Partners, which was joined by Cedar Fund and individual investors. Bob Goodman of Bessemer and Ram Metser, CEO of Guardium when it was bought out by IBM, will be joining Intigua's board of directors. Intigua, founded by Shimon Hason and Tomer Levy in 2010, develops virtualization software for cloud infrastructures of management systems. Hason joined Cedar upon completing his MBA studies at MIT, recruited Levy, and together received $400,000 pre-seed money from the fund to develop their venture. In December 2010 they received another $2 million from Cedar and private investors, raising an additional $2 million from the same investors recently. The company has about 20 employees, including 15 at its development center in Israel and others at its sales office in Boston. The company, which beat 200 contenders to win first prize for new technology at the 2012 VMworld convention last September, counts Fortune 500 companies among its clients. (Orr Hirschauge )

S Index rose 0.1% in December, 2.5% in 2012

The Bank of Israel's state-of-the-economy - or "S" - index rose 0.1% in December, following the steady trend of moderate growth in recent months but down from a monthly 0.25% clip in the first quarter. The index was up 2.5% for all of 2012, slowing from 4.4% in 2011. This is consistent with a slowdown in the growth of business gross domestic products from 5.1% in 2011 to 3.2% in 2012, the central bank said. The December rise reflected increases in the manufacturing production index and export of services, offset by lower indices for trade and services revenue and the import and export of goods. The manufacturing production index, which lags behind other indicators by one month, rose 1.7% in November following a 1.4% decline in October. (Moti Bassok )

Will Palestine become an Arab high-tech hub? Credit: Tomer Appelbaum