High Tech Pioneers
A pioneer in Israeli high-tech since 1962, Elron has been instrumental in the success of high-growth enterprises in fields such as medical devices, medical imaging, advanced defense electronics, information technology, software and services, telecommunications and semiconductors.
The Early Days
In its early years, Elron focused on defense, particularly electronics and avionics, as well as the emerging medical and technology sectors. In 1966, Elron founded Elbit, which combined the expertise of the Ministry of Defense-Research Institute in special computer design with Elron's experience in electronic product design, manufacture and management.
Elbit steadily expanded developing and producing logistic-support weapon delivery and navigation systems for most Israeli aircraft, establishing a combat avionics package for the Lavi fighter aircraft, and producing a fire-control system for the Merkava tank.
Breaking New Boundaries
Elron spun off Elscint in 1969, which forged a new technology in medical imaging: Computer Tomography (CT). In just over 10 years, the company achieved major breakthroughs, overshadowing the competition by reducing the scanning operation to seconds. It also entered the realm of ultrasound.
In 1972, Elscint became the first Israeli company to list on the NASDAQ. Elron followed suit: listing on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in 1975 and on the NASDAQ in 1981.
In 1990, Elbit's medical arm, which later became Elbit Medical Imaging, acquired a majority share in Elscint.
In 1996, Elbit spun off into three independent companies:
Elbit Medical Imaging (NASDAQ: EMITF) - During 1999 to 2000 Elscint and Elbit Medical Imaging sold their imaging activities to General Electric Medical Systems (NYSE: GE) and to Picker (now Philips, NYSE: PHG) for approximately $600 million.
Elbit Systems (NASDAQ: ESL) - In 2000 Elron was instrumental in the merger of Elbit Systems with El-Op, creating the largest non governmental defense electronics company in Israel and increasing significantly Elbit Systems' value which later in 2004 enabled Elron to sell its shares in Elbit Systems for approximately $200 million.
Elbit - The company focused on communications activities and in 1999 led the consortium that founded Partner, Israel's first GSM operator (NASDAQ: PTNR), now with market cap in excess of $1 billion. In 2002 Elbit was merged into Elron. Elron sold its shares in Partner during 2003-2006 for approximately $160 million.
Since its inception, Elron continuously invested in best-in-breed technologies. In 1978 it formed Fibronics, a company dedicated to developing fiber-optic technologies. Three years later, Elron established Optrotech, which pioneered automated optical inspection of printed circuit boards. The Optrotech-Orbot merger formed Orbotech (NASDAQ: ORBK), a world leader in automated optical inspection (AOI) and imaging as well as computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technologies. In 1983, Elron was actively involved in the early stages of the establishment of Zoran (NASDAQ: ZRAN), a developer of digital signal processing (DSP) technology. Today, it is a leading provider of digital solutions-on-a-chip. During 1999 to 2001, Elron sold its shares in Orbotech and Zoran for approximately $100 million.
In 1998, Given Imaging
was founded by RDC
, an Elron subsidiary. Given Imaging has redefined gastrointestinal disease diagnosis by developing friendly products for detecting gastrointestinal disorders. Given Imaging's IPO in 2001 was the first to be listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market (GIVN) after the tragic events of September 11. Later on, during 2004, the company issued a second public offering.
In 2005, Medingo was founded by RDC. Medingo, a developer of a state-of-the-art miniature, lightweight, tube-free insulin micro-pump for people with diabetes, was sold, just 5 years after its inception, for $160 million, and an additional contingent payment of up to $40 million.
The Internet Age
Elron continued to forge ahead, seeking out new technologies.
In the early 90's, Elron was one of the Internet pioneers in Israel, expanding into information technologies and communications by the end of the decade. Landmark companies founded during the 90's include 013 NetVision, Israel's largest Internet service provider (ISP), which became public in the TASE in 2005. In 2007 013 NetVision completed the merger with Barak and GlobCall, creating a provider of international telecommunications services, with over NIS 1 billion in revenues. In 2009 Elron sold its shares in 013 NetVision for approximately NIS 230 million (approximately $60 million).
Two other companies in that field, Peach Networks and HyNEX, were sold during the year 2000 to Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and to Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) respectively for over $200 million.
Building Tomorrow's Leaders
Over four decades Elron has been facilitating the growth of hi-tech ventures in diverse fields and stages, generating an impressive record of IPO's, M&A's and re-structuring deals.
Elron's exit record throughout the last 10 years totaled over $2.2 billion, of which Elron's proceeds were over $900 million.
Today, Elron has significant holdings in approximately 15 hi-tech companies in all stages of development. Elron is constantly and actively looking at new exciting ventures in order to continue and build tomorrow's global leaders.