China-Israel fund makes second investment

China Everbright and Catalyst have led a $25 million funding round in Israeli company XJet, which will be used to bring the technology to China’s manufacturing sector.

Catalyst CEL Fund, a joint private equity fund raised by Hong Kong-based China Everbright and Israel-based Catalyst Private Equity, together with global software company Autodesk have made a $25 million investment in 3D printing company XJet, according to a statement.

This marks the second investment from the fund, following its $10 million acquisition of precision engineering company Lamina Technologies in 2014, in which it holds a majority stake.

“Deal sourcing for the fund has been restrained because the China and Israeli teams needed some time to get integrated when the fund was launched in 2013,” managing partner Yair Shamir told Private Equity International. “Catalyst CEL’s due diligence process is also very stringent that it takes almost five months before we can get to the conclusion that it was the right time and the right investment.”

Shamir added that the fund intends to close more deals this year.

The China-Israel fund has raised $200 million in capital commitments from its cornerstone investor China Everbright and existing investors from China, Israel, North America and Europe. It held a first close on $100 million in March 2014, anchored by a $75 million commitment from China Everbright, as previously reported by PEI. The fund invests about $20-25 million in growth-stage companies that focus on promoting their technologies in China and emerging markets.

Following the deal with XJet, Catalyst CEL appointed its managing partner Yair Shamir as new chairman of the company. Under the deal, Autodesk will be partnering with XJet to provide software solutions for its 3D printing machines.

The firm said the investment will be used to complete the development of XJet’s global product launch slated in May this year.

XJet’s technology uses solid metal nanoparticles within a liquid ink in sealed cartridges. It is the world's first direct 3D metal inkjet-based jetting system manufacturer for metal parts.

“XJet has a highly seasoned and experienced management team with innovative, and even revolutionary technology, which we trust will make a significant change in the production industry of sophisticated metal parts. Jointly with our Chinese partners, we hope to help the company make a meaningful market entry into the Chinese industry and production market,” Shamir said in the statement.

Catalyst manages $280 million across three investment funds and counts HSBC, China Everbright, ABN-AMRO, Union Bank of Israel and Headway Capital as its investors.

China Everbright, which has over $8 billion in assets under management, is a subsidiary of the state-owned conglomerate China Everbright Group.

Catalyst-CEL has about 15 professionals in its Hong Kong and Tel Aviv offices.