Stewart exceeds milestone with the completion of its first commercial transactions in Istanbul, Turkey
LONDON (March 8, 2006) - Stewart Title Ltd. has underwritten more than EUR 3 billion (€3,000,000,000) in title-insured transactions within Central Europe with the completion of title insuring and underwriting a cross-border, multi-site retail mall transaction with Bainbridge Retail Properties. This venture was launched and managed by Paris-based sponsor and fund manager, Groupe Leonard de Vinci.
The Bainbridge transaction consisted of 20 hypermarket-retail centers across the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Turkey. Stewart Title Ltd. issued both owner and lender policies, and used the existing Stewart International offices and underwriters in each of these markets to manage country-specific due diligence.
Stewart Title Ltd. and Stewart Information International are wholly owned subsidiaries of Stewart Information Services Corp. (Stewart) (NYSE-STC).
"Stewart's commitment to develop country-specific products within its various European offices has enabled us to provide the type of service our clients have come to expect and rightfully deserve," said Steve Lessack, chief executive officer, Stewart Title Ltd., and executive vice president, Stewart Information International. "This particular transaction has been a significant factor in reaching this milestone and in doing so, completing our first commercial transaction in Turkey.
"As a leader in the European title insurance industry, Stewart will continue to service our clients' needs in both the existing and emerging markets," added Lessack.
"The goal with any sizable real estate transaction is to not only create value, but mitigate risks and protect your investment," said Franck Ruimy, portfolio manager and principal, Groupe Leonard de Vinci. "Even with the most knowledgeable attorneys, there are uncertainties and inherent risks of title in Central Europe. Based on their understanding of the market and our needs, we engaged Stewart to provide title guaranty to ensure a greater sense of security for our investment and investors."
After issuing its first title guaranty in Central Europe in 2003, Stewart has reached the €3 billion milestone in 24 months. The Bainbridge transaction is the latest of a series of significant transactions completed by Stewart in Central Europe.
"With more institutional investors entering Central Europe's real estate market, interest in title guaranties for real estate assets is increasing," said Lessack. "Stewart is able to significantly reduce title risk and provide financial indemnification for remaining title risks, allowing large projects to proceed."
About Stewart Title Ltd.
As Stewart's primary underwriter for European transactions, Stewart Title Limited is committed to providing its clients with the expertise necessary to deal with country-specific issues and market challenges, Stewart Title Limited is a UK insurance company, regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Stewart Title Limited delivers a host of title indemnity products, streamlining the conveyancing and closing process and helping solicitors and attorneys creatively overcome difficult title situations. Visit www.stewartuk.com for more information.
About Stewart Information International, Inc.
Stewart Information International provides oversight and leadership for Stewart's expansion to markets outside of the United States. Utilizing the broad base of their U.S. operations, Stewart Information International has been successful developing and delivering market-driven title insurance and related products that are tailored to the requirements of the International marketplace on a country specific basis. Stewart Information International enhances the real estate transaction process. To date, Stewart provides title guarantees and title insurance policies, gap mortgage registration insurance, escrow services, and real estate information services in more than 40 countries through its offices in Anguilla, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Stewart has an 18-year history of providing real estate information solutions for various governments including Antigua, Slovak Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Hungary, Costa Rica, Washington, D.C., and other locations in the United States. For more information, visit http://www.stewart.com/international.
Stewart Information Services Corp. is a technology-driven, strategically competitive, real estate information and transaction management company. Stewart provides title insurance and related information services required for settlement by the real estate and mortgage industries through more than 8,500 policy-issuing offices and agencies in the United States and international markets. Stewart also provides post-closing lender services, default management solutions, automated county clerk land records, property ownership mapping, geographic information systems, property information reports, flood certificates, document preparation, background checks and expertise in tax-deferred exchanges. More information can be found at www.stewart.com.