Israel Corp unit invests $10m in solar power co HelioFocus

Work on the company's development - the next generation of thermo-solar technology - began in 1990.

IC Green Energy Ltd. (ICG), the cleantech arm of Israel Corporation. (TASE: ILCO), which is headed by Maj.Gen. (Res) Yom-Tov Samia, prefers to avoid the spotlight, and does not willingly disclose much information about its activity. Its latest investment is in a company called HelioFocus, which is developing thermo-solar technology. ICG reportedly contributed $10 million out of the $20 million the company raised in its latest financing round.

"We wanted to go for something that has potential," Samia told "Globes." He refused to say how much ICG invested, but noted that the technology is designed to convert sunlight to energy more efficiently, and at a lower cost, than the technology used at present in the thermo-solar sector.

According to IVC Online data, HelioFocus, which employs 20 people, is developing a technology for use in parabolic mirrors that concentrate sunrays for use in powering electricity turbines. The company was established on the basis of know-how developed by a group of scientists headed by Prof. Jacob Karni - currently on unpaid leave from the Weizmann Institute of Science. The company was co-founded by Prof. Sasson (Sass) Somekh, who held a number of senior management roles at Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT), and CEO Dr. Ory Zik. According to Prof. Karni, the idea was first conceived at the Weizmann Institute in 1990. Because of this, the company could hardly be described as a start-up, although Samia describes the stage it is currently at as the "preliminary development stage."

According to IVC Online, Somekh contributed part of the latest investment, through Musea, a fund he controls, and Karni adds that ICG has acquired a controlling share of around 50%, investing "a lot more than Musea"

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on August 27, 2008

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

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