Hutchison Water (Israel) Ltd., a unit of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd (HKSE: 0018) subsidiary Hutchison Water Ltd. has won the tender to operate Kinrot Technology Ventures for the next eight years. It will assume Kinrot's franchise from Aquagro Fund LP, controlled by Moshe Gaon through B. Gaon Holdings Ltd. (TASE: GAON), which has owned the incubator since 2010. Hutchison did not disclose how much it paid for the incubator, whose portfolio includes over ten cleantech and water industry companies.
Hutchison Water Israel said that it intends to invest more than NIS 100 million in Kinrot's portfolio companies over the next eight years.
Hutchison's representative in Israel Dan Eldar said, "The acquisition of Kinrot will give new promising Israeli companies access to the highest levels of expertise in the water and cleantech industries, and will help them reach a range of foreign markets where Hutchison operates."
Hutchison was recently in talks to buy back Orange franchisee Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR) from Ilan Ben-Dov. Hutchison and its subsidiaries have 250,000 employees in 52 countries and an annual turnover of $50 billion.
Eldar told "Globes" today that Hutchison Water opened talks to acquire Kinrot from Aquagro a few months ago, and that they made rapid progress. He said that, before the acquisition, Hutchison Water executives considered establishing a new water and cleantech industries incubator, but decided that Kinrot fit their business vision in Israel. "We've made a number of technology investments and we're partners in the construction of the Soreq desalination plant, the largest such plant in the Middle East. The investment in Kinrot will enable us to facilitate new start-ups break into global markets with our support, advice, and strategic partners," he said.
Hutchison Water's acquisition of Kinrot is part of the Office of the Chief Scientist tender for the five new franchisees which will operate incubators for the next eight years. The other four winners are Dr. Shimon Eckhaus's Medtech Ventures; JVP Media Labs Negev, a consortium of Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; a consortium of Xenia Venture Capital Ltd. (TASE:XENA) and Van Leer Ventures Jerusalem Ltd.; a BBDO Gitam.
Chief Scientist Avi Hasson told "Globes", "There were potential franchisees to which it was really hard to say no. Throughout the process, we had an impressive flow of bids, proving that the reform we're leading for the technology incubators was very attractive and tempting."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 11, 2012
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