Tricycle, Candlesticks and a Light Armored Vehicle Win Israeli Industrial Awards

The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry announced yesterday the five winners of the 2011 Atir Awards for Israeli industrial design. Each year, one award is issued in each of five categories: consumer goods; tools and equipment; furniture and lighting; green/sustainable products; and concept design

The winners were selected by a panel of judges made up of leading industrial designers and headed by Michael Ilouz, CEO of the Teva Naot shoe and accessory manufacturer.

The winner in the consumer goods category was Yetitoy, a children's tricycle manufactured by INRAM Development & Design and designed by Yama Design. For one thing, the tricycle is a platform for various accessories, wrote the judges. "The child can enrich their wondrous world of imagery by adding accessories such as ears, horns, a saddle and more," they wrote. In other words, this tricycle has a whole new "visual, minimalist and iconic language," they elaborated.

The prize in the tools and equipment category was shared by Lachish Industries for Mixellium, a self-loading silage mixer for livestock (designed by Amos Boaz ), and Elbit Systems' Musketeer, a multirole light armored vehicle (designed by Yaron Loubaton ).

The Mixellium is a one-person machine that can handle the entire process of preparing cow feed and feeding the beasts as well. An arm loads the different feeds, which are then mixed together to create a homogenous feed. It also sports a conveyor belt that brings the mix to the cows. The target market for this device, which is based on an older invention by the company, is giant dairy farms in Europe.

As for the Musketeer, made by defense electronics manufacturer Elbit Systems, it is a vehicle to carry troops on mission while protecting them from bullet fire. Tanks do the same thing: the Musketeer, on the other hand, is based on a regular car chassis. The idea behind the design, explains the ministry, is to take the car out of the civilian context and give it a new look, which can be said to have been achieved. The final look of the vehicle is a function of the manufacturing technology and the requirements of protecting soldiers from getting shot, the judges said.

The prize in the furniture and lighting category went to Spring Candlesticks, manufactured by Hollamama (designed by Dor Carmon ). The candlestick world is generally a boring place, explained the judges, but Carmon makes his unique by using cast cement and metal bars with different types of finishing. The harmony of shape and accuracy in sizes give the collection jewelry-like characteristics, they said.

Trade, Industry and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon said at the award ceremony that local industry faces difficult times. "The global financial crisis has had a direct impact on the Israeli market, and if we do not take appropriate action, it might hurt our industrial exports," Simhon said, added that in today's competitive environment "innovative, well-designed products have an added value and an advantage" that can propel companies and improve their standing domestically and abroad.

All that said, Israeli exports have been hurting badly in recent months. Rafael Gozlan, chief economist at IBI Investment House, predicts that they will continue to drop, in part due to the low expectations of purchasing managers in the United States. Pessimism among purchasing managers in a key target market is a negative indicator for Israeli exports, Gozlan points out in his weekly macroeconomic review.

With reporting by Ruth Schuster

Tel Aviv stocks lost ground yesterday. Most of the major indexes started and stayed in the red throughout the day, on paper-thin turnover, following the lead of world markets.

The blue chip TA-25 index fell 0.6% to end the day at 1,092 points, and the broader TA-100 index fell 0.5% to close at 1,001 points. The TA-Banks index lost 0.3% and the BlueTech-50 index lost 0.4%. The Oil and Gas Exploration index dropped 1.7%. The Real Estate-15 index bucked the trend and rose 0.3%, and the Biomed index gained 0.2%. The TA-Insurance index rose 1%.

Turnover continued to be extremely low: A puny NIS NIS 857 million yesterday, but almost twice Sunday's volume. Trading volume on the TASE has retreated to levels of a decade ago.

Large-cap corporate bonds as reflected in the TelBond-20 index were unchanged. The TelBond-40 and TelBond-60 indexes rose slightly. Government bonds rose by up to 0.15%.

The dollar strengthened against the shekel, rising 0.2% to a representative rate of exactly 3.800. The euro moved in the opposite direction and lost 0.2% against the local currency at a representative rate of NIS 5.020. This reflected the trend in global forex markets where the euphoria over Greece's progress on completing a debt restructuring deal is starting to wear off. Fresh economic data raised expectations of a recession in Europe and highlighted a growing gap with the U.S. economy, but euro losses were checked by profit-taking in the dollar.

In world markets, stock prices slipped as expectations of a recession in Europe and China signaled slower growth ahead. China cut its annual growth target to an eight-year low. European and Asian markets all closed down yesterday.

Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank lost 0.7%, leading bank shares down.

Insurance shares had a good day, one of the few sectors to show significant gains. The Phoenix rose 1.4% and Menora Mivtachim gained 1.8%. Clal Insurance rose 1.3%.

Israel's largest supermarket chain Super-Sol fell 1.8% after releasing its 2011 financial reports showing a drop in profit in the wake of the social protests against the high cost of living.

Energy shares were deep in the red: Globe Exploration plunged 8.7% and Israel Opportunity fell 5.6%. Ratio Oil Exploration lost 3.7%.

Partner Communication climbed 3.4%. Its rival Cellcom rose 0.6%, despite a downgrade in the target price of the share by the IBI investment house.

Protalix rose 2.6% and Ituran also gained 2.6%, and has now risen over 10% in a month. HOT Telecom lost 1.1% .

Most holding companies lost ground yesterday, and Nochi Dankner's Discount Investments fell another 3.2%. The share has lost 18.% of its value since the beginning of the year. Yitzhak Tshuva's Delek Group lost 2.7%.

Reuters contributed to this report.