Markaz's Q1 2007 Results: Year-on-Year EPS for first quarter grows to 18 fils; AUM KD1.16 Billion


Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K. “Markaz”, one of the leading investment banking and asset management companies in the Middle East, reported its financial results for the first quarter ending March 31st, 2007. "Markaz made a net profit of KD 7.654 million, or an earning per share of 18 fils. These results compare with a net loss of KD 4.380 million and a loss per share of 10 fils for the first quarter of 2006. Assets under Management totaled KD 1.16 billion as of the end of Q1 2007" said Mr. Diraar Alghanim, Chairman & Managing Director of Markaz. In terms of investment banking activities in Q1, Markaz is focusing its activities on the Middle East and Emerging Markets, with a focus on the oil & gas and real estate sectors. Markaz is currently establishing an equipment leasing company, which will cover the Middle East region, and provides asset backed equipment financing to major oil & gas contractors in the Region. The recently launched "Markaz Real Estate Opportunities Fund," based out of the Kingdom of Bahrain, is a close-ended Shari'ah compliant fund and opportunistic in nature. The Fund will invest predominantly in development projects in various real estate segments in the Middle East and North Africa region. Fees generated from Markaz’s asset management and investment banking activities reached KD 2.34 million during Q1 2007. Markaz launched its IPO and Pre-IPO Program which seeks to achieve capital appreciation over the medium to long term by participating in IPOs and Pre- IPOs predominantly focused on Emerging Markets, particularly Asia and the GCC/ MENA regions Markaz's investment funds in Q1 2007 outperformed their respective benchmarks. The average growth for local investment funds from inception till end of March 2007 was 627%. Markaz Islamic Fund achieved absolute returns of 12.5% in Q1 2007, whilst Forsa Financial Fund, which invests in options, achieved absolute returns 9.0% in Q1 2007. Markaz Investment & Development Fund "MIDAF" achieved absolute returns of 12.3% in Q1 2007. Markaz Fund for Excellent Yields "Mumtaz" has shown NAV growth of 16.8% in Q1 2007. The first quarter marked the winning of two ‘Lipper – Reuters’ awards in the 1st quarter for Best Equity Fund in Kuwait (3 years) and Best Equity Fund in Kuwait (5 years) by Mumtaz Fund. It is worth saying that Mumtaz's NAV has exceeded 900% since inception. "Markaz Idikhar Fund" generated a 6.510% a quarterly return as compared to 5.625% return on a three months fixed deposit in local banks. Markaz’s portfolio of private equity investments achieved 9.15% returns on average invested capital during the 1st quarter. The results are due to excellent timing of exits and divestments, mostly in strategic and trade sales. Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K 'Markaz', with total assets under management of over KD. 1.16 billion as of March 31, 2007 was established in 1974, and 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 awarded a BBB+ corporate rating by Capital Intelligence Ltd. -Ends- Photo Caption: Mr. Dirar Y. Alghanim – Chairman and Managing Director, Kuwait Financial Center "Markaz"