Future U.S.-Mexico border fence may be boon for Israeli security firms


Magal Security Systems, an experienced player in building high-tech fences & security walls along Israel’s volatile borders, as well as the security barrier separating the West Bank, is being seen as a possible option for Trump’s proposed Mexico wall.

By The Associated Press

The Israeli company that has built high-tech fences along the country’s volatile borders is being regarded by investors as a possible safe bet to cash in on the US president-elect’s plan to seal the border with Mexico.Magal Security Systems has been a major player in building high-tech fences and walls along Israel’s volatile northern and southern borders, as well as the massive separation barrier that snakes along the frontier with the West Bank. Its products include cameras, sophisticated sensors, robots and software to operate the systems.

proposed Judea & Samaria fence

“We believe that the US government is going to increase its security budgets in the coming years and definitely we look forward to hopefully taking part in it,” the company’s chief executive, Saar Koursh, told The Associated Press.

Investors seem to agree.

Despite a mixed record of profitability and a historically volatile stock, the company’s shares have surged on the Nasdaq Stock Market since Donald Trump was elected president on Nov. 8, while trading volume has surged in some cases by more than 150 times the pre-election levels. Its shares were trading at $5.53 apiece on Wednesday, up 24 percent from its $4.45 closing price on Nov. 8.

Magal was established in 1965 as a branch of the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries. It was privatized 15 years later and has traded on the Nasdaq since 1993. Magal has served customers in over 80 countries, including airports, the seaport in Mombasa, Kenya, and sporting events and utilities.

With market capitalization below $100 million, the company is much smaller than potential competitors, which could include major global electronics and construction firms. But it’s a leader in a country that is in turn a global leader in the building of barriers.

Israeli defense officials confirmed Magal’s projects have included not only the West Bank barrier, but also a 150-mile structure that has halted an influx of African migrants across the Egyptian border. Additionally, Magal is also responsible for the high-tech fence separating the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip from Israel.

Victor Bar-Gil, a former Israeli Defense Ministry official who worked with Magal on a project to fortify the border with Lebanon, said the company did “very thorough and precise work.”

“It was work that had to be done really urgently. The military was withdrawing from Lebanon and a fence needed to be built very quickly and this fence was built,” he said.

Koursh believes that if the Mexico barrier is built, it will be similar to Israeli structures that include a combination of fences and walls equipped with cutting edge technology.

“It is dependent on so many factors, including the type of wall, the type of fence, (and) the type of sensors that you want to put on the fence (that) it’s hard for me to estimate, but for sure this would be a mega project,” he said.

David Holtzman, a financial analyst at Israel’s First International Bank, said Magal is considered a world leader in the construction of security barriers but cautioned that the run-up in its stock price is speculative.

“It is important to remember that currently we still do not know yet whether everything that Trump has promised prior to the election he will in fact carry out,” he said.


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