First Title and Winmarkt Sign Title Insurance Deal

July 14, 2008

London - First Title Insurance plc (First Title), a subsidiary of First Title plc and the largest provider of title insurance in the United Kingdom and Europe, has provided title insurance to facilitate the purchase of Winmarkt Magazine by the IGD Group — one of the primary players in the Italian retail real estate market — for €182.50 million.

By providing comprehensive title insurance, First Title enabled the complex transaction to take place, replacing some of the vendor’s warranties. The transaction covered 16 Winmarkt commercial centres in Romania, spanning a total of 147,000 square metres.

György Sáringer, First Title’s business development executive for Romania and Bulgaria said: “These transactions highlight one of the key benefits of title insurance. Our product replaces warranties that would otherwise leave the seller with contingent liabilities upon closure of the transaction. First Title was pleased to have the opportunity to develop a complex, tailored policy to help the IGD Group and Winmarkt reach their goals. This is an excellent example of how title insurance can enhance value and facilitate the acquisition of property. With the Romanian real estate sector continuing to grow at an unprecedented rate, the future looks extremely promising for First Title in the region.”

Mr Antonio Di Berardino, director of IGD and chief executive officer of Winmarkt, said: “The target of our first acquisition abroad was not to make an investment in a specific location, but to acquire a portfolio in order to maximize scale economies and diversify risks. However, by considering the entire portfolio, we also found many critical risk points in the acquisition phase due to the property registration system in Romania, which is subject to many uncertainties, both societal and legislative. Indeed, I believe that without the value added by title insurance and without First Title’s skills, this acquisition may not have been completed, despite the appeal of the business.”

Source: First Title plc

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North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) is a seasoned title insurance underwriter, helping title agents to achieve their individual business goals for more than 50 years. Today, the company conducts real estate settlement services in 39 states and the District of Columbia through a network of experienced, independent agents.