Barmad Looking to Float Here or in London

The Barmad factory owned jointly by Kibbutz Evron, 75 percent, and Kibbutz Sa'ar, 25 percent, is preparing for a stock offering either here in Israel or in London.

The kibbutzim want to issue at a company value of NIS 350 million, at the very least, for the maker of automatically actuated hydraulic valves, said sources.

No decision has been made yet as to where to float, but the company has started preparing for such an event.

The firm's valves are used in water, fuel and fire extinguishing systems.

The company has stayed profitable since its founding 40 years ago, and its 2006 sales are expected to reach $63 million. Its sales have been growing steadily - in 2001 sales were only $43 million, and rose to $45 in 2002.

Today 90 percent of production is for export, and the company has nine subsidiaries around the world, and does business in over 80 countries.

Barmad has 400 workers in Israel and another 100 overseas.

Five years ago the company examined the possibility of bringing in strategic investors from overseas, but the Kibbutzim decided against sharing control at the time.

If the offering comes off, then part of the proceeds will be used to purchase other businesses to enable the firm to grow.