Best Islamic real estate finance house: Noriba
Bahrain-based Noriba snatched this year’s award, narrowly beating the 2005 winner, Gulf Financial House. Noriba, which was incorporated in 2002, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Switzerland’s UBS Group. According to CEO Toufic Kanafani, the bank’s investor base is international, with clients from the Gulf region, the wider Middle East, the US, Europe and South East Asia.
While both GFH and Noriba are involved in real estate deals in Europe, Noriba has also ventured into the US market. It successfully exited two real estate investments last year: Noriba US Commercial Properties I; and Noriba UK Commercial Property I. The US portfolio was sold in March 2005, providing an internal rate of return of 18.2% again a projected IRR of 12.5%; the UK investment provided an IRR of 17.72% against a projected IRR of 10%. Both were exited earlier than expected because of favourable market conditions.
In June 2005, Noriba closed its second continental European real estate offering, Noriba Euro Commercial Property II. The property is Rive Défense, an office development near Paris’s La Défense business district. The total value of the transaction was A246 million, with projected IRR on investors’ equity and projected cash distribution rates of 7.6%