Business in Brief

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Micron Israel managers vying to buy control of Kiryat Gat plant

The managers of Micron Technology’s Israel subsidiary are among those competing to buy the U.S. company’s manufacturing facility in Kiryat Gat. The plant, which makes NOR flash chips used in mobile devices, is due to be closed unless it’s acquired, sources told TheMarker. The management team, which is led by Jonathan Wand, the company’s general manager for Israel, is vying with semiconductor maker TowerJazz to buy the facility. A decision is due by the end of June. Micron, which declined to comment on the sale, employs around 1,300 people at the Kiryat Gat plant, located next to the Intel facility. Micron said in December that it planned to close the plant by 2015 and move production from 8-inch wafers made at the Israeli plant to 12-inch wafers, which increase chip yields and lower costs.

New-home sales climbed 24.5% in first two months from a year ago

The number of new-home sales rose 24.5% in the first two months of the year from the same time in 2012 to 4,290 units, the Central Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. Still, the statistics bureau said figures covering a longer period pointed to only tepid sales increases. It said the number of new homes sold from October 2012 through January 2013 rose on average just 2.3% month to month; in February alone the figure was up just 0.6%. The inventory of unsold homes declined 4.5% to around 20,760 at the end of February from a year earlier. “The trend that’s developing is very worrying because while natural population growth can’t be suppressed, the housing market can be suppressed, which the government has succeeded in doing over the past year,” said Ohad Dannus, chairman of the Real Estate Appraisers Association.

Startup Zerto raises $13 million from investor group led by Russian fund

The startup Zerto, which uses cloud infrastructure for data center disaster recovery, said yesterday it raised $13 million from investors, marking its third investment round. The latest round was led by RTP Ventures, an arm of the Russian venture capital fund ru-Net Holdings, as well as investors from previous rounds, which included Battery Ventures, Greylock Israel and USVP, all based in the United States. Zerto, which was formed by brothers Ziv and Oded Kedem, plans to use the money to expand its sales force as well as for marketing and development, with the aim of increasing market share. The company’s Israeli workforce is slated to grow by about 20 people by the end of the year, Zerto said. The startup has raised $34 million since it was founded. ‏

Micron and Intel plants in Kiryat Gat.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz