Business in Brief

 

Israel Lands Administration becomes an Authority

The Israel Lands Administration officially became the Israel Lands Authority last Friday, although in practice the structural and other reforms that are supposed to company the name change won’t take place for another two to three months. The changeover occurred after the Histadrut labor federation gave its approval for the personnel reforms connected with the restructuring. The new ILA will focus most of its efforts on land sales and planning. It will transfer effective title of the land it markets on long-term leases to the lessees and will adopt a streamlined structure, which includes laying off 200 staff, hiring 160 better-qualified staff and assigning its remaining 500 employees to new tasks. (Nimrod Bousso)

Central bank: More over 55s are working

The proportion of people over age 55 in the workforce has grown significantly over the last decade, according to a Bank of Israel report to be released shortly. The legal retirement age rose from 65 to 67 for men and from 60 to 62 for women, at a time when the older population was growing fast as well, according to the report. Nevertheless, the growth in the labor force participation rate was higher than for younger age groups. The Bank of Israel believes that as life expectancy grows, pension and National Insurance arrangements have to change to ensure retirees have sufficient incomes. One way to ensure this is to extend the working years to ensure a bigger labor force to fund pension benefits. (Moti Bassok)

Enlight completes financing for solar plant

Enlight Energy said Monday that it had completed raising NIS 500 million in financing to build a 55-megawatt solar power plant at Halutziot in the Western Negev. The capital includes NIS 440 million in senior debt provided by Bank Leumi and the insurance companies Clal and Phoenix. It comes in addition to the NIS 78 million loan that the Noy Fund pledged last month to a limited partnership, controlled by Enlight, that owns the operating license. The financing must still be approved by regulators. Once that happens, construction on the plant will begin with the plant up and operating by the end of 2014 or early 2015, according to CEO Gilad Yavitz. (Yoram Gabison)

SingTel, Amdocs open development center

Singapore Telecommunications and Amdocs have opened a development center in Ra’anana as part of SingTel’s investment in new technology. SingTel said the center’s initial focus will be on voice and face recognition, as well as systems that enable mobile and Wi-Fi networks to work more efficiently. “This will be the third of SingTel’s so-called LifeLabs, in addition to similar centers in Singapore and Boston. Lew said part of SingTel’s $160 million corporate venture fund will be dedicated to Israel. Amdocs CEO Eli Gelman said the new center would help Israeli technology to reach the Asian market. (Reuters)

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