Markaz Sells Award Winning Building

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Markaz Sells Award Winning Building 03 - Dec - 2006

Markaz announced that it had sold its award winning office property in Irvine, California, to BlackRock Realty for US$ 42,350,000, generating an internal rate of return of over 33% and a gross return of 4.5 times equity invested. Mr. Sami Shabshab, President of Mar-Gulf Management Company Inc. (Mar-Gulf), the US real estate arm and wholly owned subsidiary of Markaz, stated that the project, from development to sale, was a landmark transaction in the history of Markaz. He added that prices for office space in the Irvine had appreciated significantly over the past five years and this was one of the key factors driving returns. He further added that the decision to sell was consistent with Markaz's strategy of developing, leasing up, and subsequently selling properties when market conditions permit. Markaz has been active in the US real estate market since 1977 with the launching of its first syndicated transaction. Since 1988, Markaz has been conducting real estate transactions in the US through Mar-Gulf. Over the past twenty years, Markaz and Mar-Gulf have been involved in the ownership and development of real estate properties in a variety of segments (Industrial, Retail, Multifamily and Office) across the US. Markaz currently manages US$ 677 million of real estate assets in three real estate funds and several individual office properties. The first fund comprises of 12 warehousing properties across 7 states. The second and third funds are collectively composed of 20 retail properties across 9 states. The property, Pacifica Court, sold for a record $395 per square foot, the highest price per square foot paid for a building in all of Orange County. It comprises of 107,199 square feet of high profile office space, which was 95% occupied at time of sale. It was developed by Markaz in 1999 and was honored with the Award of Merit in the 2000 Gold Nugget competition as one of the best-designed office buildings located in the Western United States. Pacifica Court offers tenants a unique building design that includes seven balconies, imported stone flooring, cherry wood paneling, advanced state-of-the-art telecommunications services and even a 900 gallon saltwater aquarium highlighting the public lobby area. Kuwait Financial Centre 'Markaz', with total assets under management of over KD1.25 billion as of September 30, 2006, was established in 1974 has become one of the leading asset management and investment banking institutions in the Arabian Gulf Region. Markaz was listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 1997; and was recently awarded a BBB+ corporate rating by Capital Intelligence Ltd. -Ends- Photo Caption: Sami Shabshab, President of Mar-Gulf Management Company Inc. (Mar-Gulf)