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Awards of Excellence
Middle Eastern regional awards

Best Bank: Bank Hapoalim
Best Investment Bank: Merrill Lynch

Bank Hapoalim has been active locally and internationally this year and wins the award for best bank for its impressive moves into risky, emerging markets. Last October, the bank bought a $100 million controlling share investment in Turkey’s Bank Pozitif. Hapoalim is also planning to buy Demire Kazakhstan Bank. In 2006 Hapoalim’s net profits rose 16.3%, largely because of a surge in financing activity. It has maintained its status as the largest bank in Israel for more than 10 years, and also had the most actively traded stock on the Tel Aviv stock exchange this year.

Despite strong competition from Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch wins the best investment bank in Israel award. Its dominance in the M&A and equity markets is marked: it completed five equity deals in the past 12 months, a 70% market share, and six M&A deals to take 30.6% market share – taking it nearly $1 billion ahead of its next competitor.

Among the equity deals was the full privatization of Oil Refineries via an IPO worth $1.54

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