Successful completion of US$ 100 Million Markaz Note Issue


Markaz announced the successful completion of USD 100 million five–year Note with a Floating Rate of 3-months LIBOR + 110 basis points per annum. Markaz Note issue attracted strong demand by major regional and international institutions, as the demand exceeded the offered amount by 27%. Around 30% of the issue was subscribed internationally while the remaining 70% of the issue was raised in the MENA region. Barclays Bank PLC, NBK Capital, and National Bank of Abu Dhabi P.J.S.C acted as the Joint Lead Managers & Book-runners while Gulf International Bank B.S.C. and Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich Aktiengesellschaft also acted as Joint lead Managers. The Note will also be listed on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX). During the first quarter of this year, Capital Intelligence has reaffirmed its BBB+ rating for Markaz with a stable outlook. CI report stated that Markaz continues to have a strong balance sheet with solid capitalization and relatively low leverage as the levels of debt have remained fairly low , which is a feature of the Markaz business model. Manaf Alhajeri, General Manager of Markaz said, “Markaz intends to utilize the proceeds from the in initiatives that would consolidate its position as a leading regional player in investment banking and asset management, such as: (a) Continuing to expand the range of investment products in terms of asset class and geographical diversification (b) Building financial and professional capabilities to capture the numerous opportunities that will arise from the inevitable privatisation of energy sector and utilities In the region (c) Targeting real estate development in the MENA region. (d) Expanding Markaz’s derivatives and structured finance products into new regional markets (e) Pursuing Direct Investment opportunities. Through these initiatives, Markaz is aiming at widening the client base and increasing assets under management which currently exceeds US$ 4 billion.” Alhajeri added that the demand for the Note was due to Markaz’s 33-year-old track record through which Markaz established itself as a regional pioneer in the field of asset management and investment banking. Amongst Markaz accomplishments are: 1) the launch of the first Options Trading Platform in the Middle East through its options market making vehicle, Forsa Financial Fund; 2) The launch of the first Local Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and the first ETF investment product in Kuwait (Exchange Traded Funds). Markaz also manages the largest Kuwaiti Equity Fund: Markaz Investment & Development Fund “MIDAF”. Markaz was recently awarded two Lipper – Reuters Fund Awards for best performance. The two awards are Best Equity Fund in Kuwait- three years and Best Equity Fund in Kuwait- five years which shows the appeal of Markaz products for investors seeking long-term capital appreciation with risk-adjusted returns. Alhajeri added “The success of the Note issue and the strong demand by international institutions is also an indicator of the optimistic outlook on Kuwait’s economy and Kuwaiti companies that are undergoing regional expansion. Additionally, it highlights the attractiveness of the GCC markets to foreign investors seeking an Emerging Markets portfolio.” Alhajeri thanked the joint lead managers for their high level of professionalism and the investors for their support to Markaz. -Ends- Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K. 'Markaz', with total assets under management of over KD1.21 billion as of March 31, 2007, 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 has been awarded a BBB+ corporate rating by Capital Intelligence Ltd. Photo Caption: Manaf A. Alhajeri, General Manager of Markaz.