Omniyat Holdings Announces the Establishment of Omniyat Investment Management



Dubai, UAE (March 30th, 2008): Omniyat Holdings, the multi-billion dirham Dubai-based real estate conglomerate, today announced the establishment of its newest company, Omniyat Investment Management (OIM), at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), with plans to manage deals worth over AED 2 billion in 2008.

The new company, which is licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, aims to be the pre-eminent funds and asset management company operating in the DIFC. It is the first company of its type affiliated to a freehold property developer, in this case Omniyat Properties.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the launch of OIM, Mehdi Amjad, President and CEO of Omniyat Holdings, said that the new company is part of Omniyat Holdings' drive to be active in the entire real estate value chain, including being an owner, investor, developer and asset manager.

"With OIM, we are taking another step towards realizing our vision of being active in the entire real estate value chain. OIM will be 100 per cent focused on real estate and will benefit from the synergies created by Omniyat Properties," added Amjad, who is also Chairman and Licensed Director of OIM.

The new company has been authorized by the DFSA to arrange investment deals, advise on financial products or credit, and manage assets. "We aim to offer a range of property fund products and we have a ready deal flow because of our property development arm, Omniyat Properties," he explained.

Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the DIFC said: "In recent times, real estate has become a highly attractive and popular investment vehicle for regional and international investors alike looking to benefit from the impressive returns that the property market can generate. OIM brings to the DIFC a wealth of knowledge and a deep understanding of the international real estate sector and will add another dimension to the already comprehensive collection of financial services available at the centre."

Amjad said OIM's vision is to build a funds management business in Dubai incorporating the entire main and sub property fund offerings from a broad range of investment opportunities. OIM aims to manage a range of property fund products in the near future to rival leading onshore fund centres such as London, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong.

"Locating at the DIFC allows us to benefit from the state of the art infrastructure and world-class facilities available here and we fully intend to be part of the DIFC's ambitious plans to be host to 20 percent of the world's investment funds," he added. Amjad pointed out that the initial funds launched by OIM will be seeded by assets from Omniyat Properties' 21st century-lifestyle portfolio of real estate, thereby giving external investors instant access to such premium quality assets. "But OIM will be managed separately with clear Chinese walls to protect the interests of the external investors investing in our funds," he said.

The Omniyat chief noted that even though OIM is a fledgling company, its strength lies in its executive management team which has a collective experience of more than 50 years. "With OIM, I am following the same formula that made Omniyat the success it is today. Get the best talent, and give them the best resources," Amjad said.

He added that the affiliation between Omniyat Properties and OIM also brings about mutual benefits. "Omniyat Properties delivers product to OIM, and in return, OIM provides an additional source of capital. The synergies of both businesses will spur growth to a much higher level which would otherwise not have been possible," Amjad said.

Ehsan Abbas, CEO of OIM, also emphasized the synergies generated by OIM, saying affiliation with the Omniyat Group brings about some major points of difference between OIM and other asset managers.

"For one, the affiliation with Omniyat Properties facilitates a never-ending deal-pipeline of assets. Investors placing money with Omniyat Investment Management will enjoy immediate capital deployment and instant return on equity with no lag - mitigating capital deployment risk. Omniyat Properties also ensures that developments are constructed under professional management, thereby mitigating delivery risk," he said.

In addition, Abbas said, the affiliation with Omniyat's Facilities Management department which will later on become a fully-fledged company in its own right, enables completed real estate to function seamlessly together with value preservation and enhancement - mitigating operational management risk. Abbas has years of experience in the banking industry, including 12 years with Citibank in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, said that OIM's initial focus will be Dubai but there are no pre-determined boundaries.

"We are licensed in Dubai at the DFSA to give all our investors and partners the reassurance that we are subject to the highest global standards of corporate governance. But it doesn't mean that we will only operate in Dubai. We will go where our capital dictates and where we can leverage on the Omniyat Group's expertise to deliver appropriate risk adjusted returns to our investors," Abbas added.

Abbas said that the company will not only be managing real estate owned by Omniyat Properties but also assets belonging to other financial institutions and super-high-net-worth individuals. "We have already been approached by a lot of investors who are active in the region's real estate market to manage their assets," he said.

Asked if OIM will eventually go for a public listing for some of its funds, he said that the company will begin with managing private wholesale funds and listing is one of the exit strategies for the funds. "This is something we are considering as part of our fund management strategy overall," Abbas said.

Wui-Hua Tan, OIM's Chief Financial Officer, said that the new company will be able to generate returns from day one of the draw-down of capital, and as a result of the appreciation of the property value. "We have a pipeline of innovative and vanilla products aiming to produce superior risk-adjusted returns," he explained.

Tan said that OIM is already working on arranging two deals with an estimated value of AED 2 billion during the second half of this year. "These will be two closed-ended real estate funds which we will place privately to our database of investors as well as institutional investors," he added.

Tan, who has more than 14 years of real estate finance experience under his belt, pointed out that OIM will probably be working with a multi-national investment bank which will handle the private placement for the two highly-lucrative real estate funds which will promote some of Omniyat Properties' real estate units

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