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About the Company
Markaz - Kuwait Financial Center KPSC, is an investment management company, specializing in investment banking and asset management. The company operates primarily in its home country and across the Middle East and Northern Africa regions. Since 1997 the company has been listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.
Markaz provides services in the fields of investment management, corporate financing, investment banking and financial advisory, money market and foreign exchange. Investment banking services also include the oil and gas sector and structured finance. As well as the above, the institution deploys capital in the MENA, US and European real estate markets and holds private equity funds, mutual funds and real estate funds and manages real estate.
The board of directors is headed by the Chairman, Diraar Yusuf Alghanim, Chief Executive Officer; Ali H. Khalil and Abdullatif W. Al-Nusif, the Executive Vice President. All are responsible for wealth management and business development at Markaz.
The company has operated since 1974 and Markaz is perceived to be the oldest finance house in Kuwait. Over time, the financial center has geography extended far beyond Kuwait and the MENA region and has turned into one of the most significant players in the investment business that consistently creates value for its stakeholders. Markaz continues to produce competitive returns even in the context of a pandemic-affected economy and announced “a solid performance in 2020” in the real estate sector upon completion of a series of sales transactions across the USA and Europe. In 2021 management plans to amplify its “International Real Estate Investment Program” within these markets, particularly intending to expand to Poland, Germany and the Netherlands.
For reference, Markaz first entered the USA with a syndicated transaction in 1977, then in 1988 the company was operating through its subsidiary; Mar-Gulf Management, Inc. Fast forward to today and their corporate portfolio includes investment and development projects in industrial, warehousing, retail, commercial and residential property sectors. As reported in September 2020, total acquisitions for the company in the States had reached USD 1.8 billion (approx AED 6.61 billion) in value.
It is worth noting that the mutual funds of Markaz invest primarily in residential properties, located in inner-city areas and around popular clusters where demand is less volatile. Investments are received in Kuwaiti dinars. The funds stick to prudent tactics which are minimally exposed to speculations and market risks.
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Financial Results in Q1 2021
Markaz opened the financial year of 2021 with positive results. The 1st quarter of 2021 has brought an increase of 191% in comparison to the same period in 2020, which was marked out by a USD 30 million (AED 110 million) loss. As reported, total revenue as of Q1 2021 amounted to USD 27.3 million (AED 100.4 million) with net profit amounting to USD 13.5 (AED 49.5 million).
After a weak beginning to 2020, the company follows an emerging positive trend and demonstrates improvement in revenue and profitability for 3 successive quarters. This proves the company’s business model effectiveness and resilience to economic challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The management sticks to a semi-tight strategy with minimal exposure to speculations and market risks. They stringently use limited leverage, which means a limited risk.
Following the global movement in digitalization, Markaz launched an interactive dashboard “iMarkaz”. This app helps their customers to build their investment portfolios, stay up-to-date with industry news and get support from the Markaz specialists.
The end of 2020 was marked by professional honors from EMEA Financial Middle East Banking Awards for the company. EMEA Finance magazine named Markaz the “Best Asset Manager in Kuwait” and the “Best Local Investment Bank” for the eighth consecutive year. The company was also distinguished with the “Corporate Social Responsibility Award - Middle East” – one of the most prestigious regional awards.
Markaz has a few projects in Abu Dhabi with one of them being the residential complex “Parkside Residence”, located in Shams, Al Reem Island. The neighborhood is famed for its architectural attraction – “Gate Towers”. The Towers are a group of sky-rise buildings connected via sky bridges remnant of Stonehenge (UK) with honored academic institutions and golf courses. Al Reem is considered as one of the fastest-growing city districts and is very popular for buying and renting property. According to internet searches in 2020 the area ranked top place in terms of apartments leasing.
Parkside Residence by Markaz was completed in 2019 and represents 2 multi-storey family-friendly apartment buildings (A and B Towers), joined by a podium. The complex offers a selection of 1-3-bedroom apartments complete with luxury amenities like a swimming pool, a gym, retail options and more. Pricing for a 1-bed unit of 826 sq. ft in size starts from around AED 790,000 (USD 215,000). A similar apartment can be rented for AED 69,500 (USD 19,000) per year.
This is a free-hold property, available for purchase for all nationalities. Kuwait Financial Center is the owner of Al Markaz development – an industrial area on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, which is around a 30-minute drive from the center of Abu Dhabi. The development occupies 1,500 acres and houses grade “A” logistic venues and industrial facilities complete with a first-rate infra. The 1st phase provides 969,000 sq. ft of warehousing space and small industrial units and the 2nd phase comprises 996,000 sq. ft of the above mentioned as well. The project has been a success with the occupancy rate at 95% for Stage 1 and 97% for Stage 2.