Business in Brief

Tnuva raising price of cottage cheese 3.5%

Two years after the cottage cheese protest that opened the door to the widespread cost-of-living protests, Tnuva is raising the price of its curds by 3.5% − to NIS 6.16 − in step with the increase on price-controlled dairy products taking effect next week. Last October, when it raised prices on many of its dairy products to keep up with the 9.4% increase in the target price for milk, Tnuva explained that the price of cottage cheese would remain unchanged in consideration of public sentiment. “We took it upon ourselves to link the rate of change in the price of cottage cheese to increases on price-controlled products,” said Tnuva CEO Arik Schor on Thursday. “We promised to be extra sensitive with the prices of basic products and that’s what we’re doing.” Rivals Strauss and Tara already raised their cottage cheese prices back in October. ‏(Adi Dovrat-Meseritz‏)

Na’amat: Allow married women in family businesses to pay their own taxes

The women’s organization Na’amat is calling on the new Knesset to fix what it terms a historical injustice by changing the tax code to allow wives working alongside their husbands to pay income tax separately, based on their own earnings. This follows a ruling handed down Tuesday by the High Court of Justice rejecting a petition by a group of married couples working together and asking for the right to be taxed individually. “Married women deserve to pay an honest tax on their income and not be penalized for being married,” said the organization. “The Knesset now remains the last resort for fixing an anachronistic and chauvinistic directive going back to the 1960s which treats women as a supplementary breadwinner.” ‏(Moti Bassok‏)

January’s inflation index forecast to be nil or -0.1%

The change in the cost-of-living index for January, to be announced tomorrow afternoon, is expected to be low − just -0.1% to 0.0% − according to economic analysts. This will be the first index measured according to the revised weights for consumption categories implemented by the Central Bureau of Statistics, with minor changes from weights used in 2011 and 2012. The index is expected to be influenced by the strengthening of the shekel, a seasonal drop in the price of housing and for clothing and footwear, and higher prices for food products, fruits and vegetables. Local taxes and the price of water increased 2.3% and 2.8% respectively in January while fuel prices remained unchanged. ‏(Moti Bassok‏)

Flower exports wilted last year, but local demand blossomed

Israel’s flower industry has enjoyed a boost in local demand, but its share in world trade fell last year from 10% to 6% due to the collapse of Agrexco, according to an announcement by Dun & Bradstreet timed to coincide with Valentine’s Day. African and South American exports took up the slack in Agrexco’s markets. The local market saw a surge in demand for roses, with the number of Israel’s rose growers consequently rising from 30 to 50 during 2012. Overall, 900 million flowers were sold during the year, including 700 million for export − down from 800 million in 2011. ‏(Ora Coren‏)

Israeli venture capital investments were down 29% in 2012

Investments in Israeli start-ups in which Israeli venture capital firms participated dropped by 29% in 2012 to $867 million, from $1.2 billion in 2011, according to the MoneyTree report issued by accounting firm PwC Israel. The report said the average investment per company fell from $4.7 million in 2011 to $4.1 million last year. Figures released last month by IVC Research Center said Israeli start-ups raised $1.92 billion in 2012, 10% less than the previous year, but this included investments without any participation by Israeli VC funds or funding rounds without any participation at all by VC firms. ‏(Orr Hirschauge‏)