Markaz: KD 6.32 Million Net Profit for Q1 2008; EPS of 14 fils


Management Fees Growth 31 %; Markaz has Leading Fund Management Market Share in Kuwait Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K, one of the leading investment banking and asset management institutions in the Middle East, reported its financial results for the first quarter ending March 31st, Net profit reached KD 6.32 million, an earning per share of 14 fils compared with KD 7.65 million in net profit and an EPS of 16 fils for the same period last year. Assets under Management totalled USD 5.09 billion, Return on Average Equity reached 5.03% and Return on Average Assets was 3.41%. On this occasion Mr. Diraar Y. Alghanim, Chairman & Managing Director said “GCC Markets continued its robust growth and strongly performed in Q1 2008, despite of the slowdown witnessed by international markets. Yet Markaz achieved a sharp increase of 31% in Management fees & Commission which reached to KD 3.07 mn for the quarter, whereas the returns on investments slightly declined from KD 7.65 million in Q1 2007 to KD 6.32 million in Q1 of this year.” Mr. Alghanim continued “Markaz launched two new investment products in Q1. Markaz Islamic Income Fund, an open-ended Shari'ah compliant money market Fund and US Multifamily Realty Investment Unit IV, a US$ 67.2 million Sharia'a-compliant fund which selectively invests in the development of apartment properties in the US. Markaz is also in the final stages of launching a new emerging markets fund which invests in a portfolio of globally diversified equities with a focus on select themes”. Mr. Alghanim concluded “The first quarter marked the winning of two Lipper-Reuters Fund awards for best performance. Markaz Fund for Excellent Yields "Mumtaz" and Markaz Islamic Fund received awards for Best Equity Fund in Kuwait- 5 years and Best Islamic Equity Fund in Kuwait- 1 year, respectively. This is the second consecutive year that Markaz is granted this prestigious award. It is worth mentioning that Markaz ranks the first in Kuwait in terms of market share in the fund management industry, with a holding of 25%, and the fourth in the GCC”. All Markaz's local investment funds outperformed their respective benchmarks in Q1 2008. As for the local funds, "Mumtaz" NAV grew by 10.86% compared to the KIC Index which posted 4.90%, Markaz Islamic Fund achieved absolute returns of 8.40%, while its benchmark, Madar KTCSI Shari’a Index posted 4.50% for the first quarter. On the international level, Markaz International investment products showed a slight decline due to weak international markets. The private equity market has been lethargic in 2008. Such a slow start forces PE investors to seek alternative types of investments and strategies. Yet Markaz still managed to achieve 4.22% on its portfolio of private equity investments during the first quarter. In terms of investment banking activities in Q1 2008, Markaz Real Estate investments were diversified regionally with a focus on residential towers, land development and business complexes. Aradi Development, a portfolio targeting land development in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia has made a second closing on March 31, 2008. Markaz Real Estate Opportunities Fund invested in an office tower development project in Syria through a joint venture. In Lebanon, two plots were acquired and joined to Clemenceau’s multi-family residential tower development project. In Jordan, Markaz purchased, in partnership with a local developer, a new plot in the Umm Al-Summaq area for a residential development project. The project consists of the development of apartment buildings with mid-sized apartment units. Markaz regional expansion efforts left another footprint with the inauguration of an office in Algeria. In terms of Structured Finance, Markaz completed the structuring of the Sharia’a-compliant alternative for options, a first for the industry, which is pending KSE approval. Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K. 'Markaz', with total assets under management of over USD 5.09 billion as of March 31, 2008, 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. Photo Caption: Mr. Diraar Y. Alghanim, Chairman & Managing Director of Markaz.