September 5, 2018 / 9:44 AM / in 8 months

Israel to set up publicly traded infrastructure investment funds

TEL AVIV, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Israel plans to establish publicly traded funds that will invest in national infrastructure projects and benefit from tax breaks, the head of the Israel Securities Authority said on Wednesday.

Private investors have put money into about 50 billion shekels ($14 billion) worth of infrastructure projects in Israel, said ISA Chair Anat Guetta.

“Our goal is to transfer a significant portion of this financing to the public capital market,” she said during a speech at a business conference in Tel Aviv.

The ISA was working with other government offices to set up funds, to be traded on the Tel Aviv exchange, to invest in national infrastructure, Guetta said. The funds will get tax breaks if they invest solely in infrastructure and distribute the profits to the investors.

“The move will take place in the coming weeks,” Guetta said.

The proposal is latest by Israeli regulators, who are trying to boost trading volumes in Tel Aviv. Recent moves have included cutting red tape, demutualizing the stock exchange and setting up a secondary exchange for small businesses.

Guetta also said she was preparing new regulation to allow foreign brokerage firms to operate in Israel and compete with local banks. ($1 = 3.6263 shekels) (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, editing by Larry King)

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