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Successful Launch of US Islamic Commercial Real Estate Fund

London, U.K – The Arab Banking Corporation’s UK subsidiary, ABCIB Islamic Asset Management Limited (“IAM”), Kuwait-based GSH (Global Securities House) and the Broe Companies of the USA announced the successful launch of The Bronco Fund, a value add Shariah-compliant real estate fund that will invest in up to US$ 140 million of US real estate.  The fund’s target is to acquire a diversified portfolio of offices and industrial assets located in major US cities using the “value add” investment strategy.  The fund, anticipated to achieve an IRR of 15%, has already made its first acquisition: an office building in San Francisco’s South Financial District, one of the US’s premier office markets.

Derek Weist, Acting CEO of IAM, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ABC International Bank plc, commented: “Following the recent successful sale of the Al Bait UK Real Estate Fund, IAM is delighted to join forces again with GSH in this exciting new venture with the Broe Companies. The US market at this time offers significant potential for those who are able to identify, assess and swiftly complete acquisitions of underperforming real estate with potential for value enhancement.”

Fahed Boodai, CEO of GSH stated, “We are thrilled to be joined by the Broe Companies in this project and are confident in their capabilities and stellar track record spanning 30 years.  Broe has proven, time and again, its ability in uncovering undervalued opportunities and delivering exceptional returns through a value added approach.”

“Their involvement, as well as our continued partnership with ABC IAM, is sure to make this another exceptional investment opportunity for our investors”, Boodai added.

Pat Broe, CEO of the Broe Companies, said “For thirty years, we have pursued and refined a model that believes in protecting capital first, and then providing a real positive rate of return based on pursuing opportunities in which we can enhance value.”

“My management team and I are honored to be working with GSH and ABC IAM.  Both institutions have excellent track records in providing sound investment services for their clients, and GSH has excelled in its own real estate investment business.”

About the parties involved

Notes to Editors

Arab Banking Corporation (“ABC”) is a consortium bank owned by Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Libyan government agencies. It was founded in 1980 and is headquartered in Manama in Bahrain. The Group has a well-established international network including offices in Paris, Milan, Frankfurt, London and, of course, the Arab world. ABC Group is one of the largest banks in the Arab world with assets totalling around US$22.4billion at 31 December 2006. The Group announced net profits of US$202m for 2006.

ABC International Bank plc (“ABCIB”) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ABC and is incorporated in the UK and regulated by the FSA. It was established in 1991, and is the main hub outside the Gulf for the Group’s Islamic banking and finance activities.

ABCIB Islamic Asset Management Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of ABC International Bank plc, London and is staffed by employees dedicated solely to Islamic banking and finance. The primary responsibility of this team is the origination and management of transactions and assets which comply with Shariah and in this it works closely with ABC Islamic Bank, Bahrain.

GSH is an international real estate investment advisory firm based in Kuwait. It structures, manages, and monitors global real estate products on behalf of its investors.   GSH has extensive experience in real estate investments in the US, UK, and France.  GSH is a subsidiary of Securities House Kuwait, a publicly traded company in Kuwait.

The Broe Group is a privately held international investment, acquisition and operational enterprise that encompasses a collection of diversified hard-asset businesses that produce a critical mass of ‘value’ and ‘interrelated’ deal making opportunities.  Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Broe owns and/or operated in excess of US$2 billion in assets and has operations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia Pacific, with over 3000 “Associates”.

Islamic banking is a faith-based system of financial management, which derives its principles from the Shariah, which is the Islamic canon law being derived from three sources - the Quran (the revealed Muslim holy book); the Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed); and the Sunnah (the practices and traditions of the Prophet Mohammed). The Shariah proscribes Muslims from giving and receiving interest (riba in Arabic); using gharar (deception or ignorance in transactions through non-disclosure or non-availability of the full facts relevant to any part or the whole transaction); and investment in a range of prohibited activities including casinos, gambling, pornography, breweries, pork production and distribution.


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