AquAgro Fund makes first investment

Advanced Desalination Technologies has apparently completed a pilot project.

AquAgroFund, a cleantech fund of Gaon Agro Industries Ltd. (TASE: GAT) has made its first investment. Sources inform ''Globes'' that it is investing $4 million in Advanced Desalination Technologies Ltd. at a company value of a few million dollars. The investment is in several tranches.

Advanced Desalination Technologies has reportedly completed a pilot at a municipal facility. Desalination and improving wells are two fields where every saving is essential, and the company's reverse osmosis technology is designed to greatly improve the efficiency of desalination.

Reverse osmosis, the opposite of osmosis, is a separation process that uses pressure to force a solvent through a membrane that retains the solute on one side and allows the pure solvent to pass to the other side. The membrane is semi-permeable, meaning it allows the passage of solvent but not of solute. In the case of desalination, the solute is the salt in seawater or brackish water.

AquAgro managing partner Nir Blazer declined to comment on financial matters, but confirmed that an investment had been made. He added that a major international fund was considering investing in Advanced Desalination Technologies. He said that the investment in the company was in line with the fund's policy of investing in companies with proven technologies undergoing pilot programs prior to commercialization.

Advanced Desalination Technologies is a family firm founded by Prof. Avi Efrati, and his son, Nadav, who will shortly take over as CEO. The company employs subcontractors, and raised $2 million prior to Aqua Agro's investment. The company has no website.

AquAgro invests in late-stage cleantech ventures. Its founder and chairman, Benjamin Gaon is the chairman of Gaon Agro and its parent company, B. Gaon Holdings Ltd. (TASE: GAON). The fund has raised $40 million, and plans to close on $100 million by the end of 2008.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on January 29, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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