Business in Brief

Golan Telecom to open sales counters

Nine months after its debut with cellular telephone service that could be purchased only through its website, Golan Telecom is biting the bullet and opening 30 sales counters in major cities around the country. The company’s sales staff will work out of Bug and Best Mobile retail stores. Golan Telecom has opted not to set up free-standing sales kiosks in the middle of shopping malls, however, and the staff at its sales counters will be outsourced and paid on commission. The company and its major competitor, Hot Mobile, both launched their service in May and have in the process driven down cellular service prices. ‏Other firms, including YouPhone, which has been heavily marketing discount services, are also in the fray. (Amitai Ziv‏)

Electric car sales get jolt at Better Place

Better Place, the ailing company that has established a network of electric car recharging stations, began 2013 with more encouraging results. The company sold 102 electric cars here in January, a major improvement in its sales figures over December, when it sold only five vehicles. In October and November vehicle sales were minimal too, 22 and 33 respectively. The improvement was made possible by a financing plan through the Albar leasing company, which is offering financing at about NIS 1,500 per month. Better Place has also attracted business from major corporate clients, including Tower Semiconductor, Zim, Cellcom and IBM. ‏(Daniel Schmil‏)

Rafael touting Iron Dome at trade show in India

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is promoting the Iron Dome anti-missile system for the first time at a trade show abroad as part of its international sales effort. The system, which is designed to intercept short-range rockets, was put on display Sunday at an industry show in India. The move follows worldwide attention that the anti-missile system garnered in November when it was deployed around Israeli cities during Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. The system was deployed from the south as far north as the Tel Aviv area. Rafael is also promoting its other missile defense systems in its portfolio to customers overseas. ‏(Ora Coren‏)

AM:PM founders join bid for Office Depot here

The founders of the AM:PM chain of convenience stores − who ultimately sold them to David Weissman’s Alon Holdings Blue Square Israel, operator of the Mega supermarket chain − are now seeking to acquire the Israeli franchise of Office Depot out of bankruptcy protection. Gal and Ran Belinkis and Guy Edri have joined forces with the controlling shareholder of the Kravitz office supply chain, Alon Ronen, and others in the effort. Initially the Kravitz group had offered NIS 27 million for Office Depot, but on Thursday the group of bidders upped their offer to NIS 40 million. Other bidders include Tzachi Fishbein, who founded the chain in Israel, and Effi Rosenhaus, the former CEO of Super-Sol supermarkets. Court trustees are expected to recommend on Monday which bid they think should be accepted. ‏(Adi Dovrat-Meseritz‏)