February 21, 2007, SANTA ANA, Calif.
The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the largest provider of business information in the United States and the leading provider of title insurance services globally, announced today that its European subsidiary, First Title Insurance plc, has provided title insurance coverage for the $100 million USD acquisition of the building currently home to Warsaw’s well-known Marriott Hotel.
Recently acquired by Lilium, a Polish subsidiary of a large international consortium specializing in top international properties, the current property consists of one of the first modern skyscrapers in Warsaw located near the financial district adjacent to the Central Railway Station. Restitution and conveyancing title defects severely hampered the property transaction, but First Title provided a rapid and creative solution that facilitated both the acquisition and financing of the property.
“First Title’s insurance policy provided us with added comfort that our lawyers’ due diligence reports were not capable of providing alone,” said Mariusz Bres, Lilium’s chief legal counsel. “The availability of title insurance in Poland and in other Eastern European countries will undoubtedly encourage further investment in real estate in this region.”
Shortly after World War II, Poland’s then communist government abolished all private property in Poland. In 1989, a democratically elected government replaced the communist regime and restored private property rights. With legal rights now secure, previous owners and their heirs can initiate legal action to recover previously nationalized properties. Restitution remains a complicated procedure, and the risk remains that current title holders might lose all or a portion of their interests. First Title helps protect against ownership challenges of both commercial and residential properties.
“First Title Insurance plc is the only title insurer in Poland that insures against restitution as a standard coverage,” said John Bakowski, First Title’s country manager for Poland. “The Lilium transaction is a great example of how title insurance provides liquidity and transparency to developing markets. In this case title insurance provided Lilium with needed protection, and also satisfied the financing bank’s requirements to protect its security interest.”
Poland Monthly magazine recently reported that Eastern Europe’s developing countries are taking an increasing share of the global $600 billion USD real estate market. In the first six months of 2006, for example, Poland’s real estate transaction activity equaled the value of property transactions for all of 2005. It is estimated that the total value of Polish real estate transactions in 2006 surpassed $4.4 billion USD, a clear indication that U.S. and other foreign-based companies are increasingly investing further into the Eastern European market.
About First Title Insurance plc
First Title plc has nine offices throughout Europe, five offices in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Republic of Ireland, Germany, Poland, and Hungary employing more than 700 staff. It provides a wide range of innovative products that enable lawyers, mortgage lenders and estate agents to deliver more efficient and advanced service to their property clients. First Title is a wholly owned subsidiary of The First American Corporation. More information about the company can be found at www.firsttitlegroup.co.uk. For more information about First Title’s operations in Central and Eastern Europe, please visit www.firsttitle.pl.
About First American
The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), a FORTUNE 500® company that traces its history to 1889, is the largest data provider in the United States. First American combines advanced analytics with its vast data resources to supply businesses and consumers with valuable information products to support the major economic events of people’s lives, such as getting a job, renting an apartment, buying a car or house, securing a mortgage and opening or buying a business. The First American Family of Companies, many of which command leading market share positions in their respective industries, operate within five primary business segments, including: Title Insurance and Services, Specialty Insurance, Mortgage Information, Property Information, and Risk Mitigation and Business Solutions. With revenues of $8.1 billion USD in 2006, First American has approximately 2,100 offices throughout the United States and abroad. More information about the company and an archive of its press releases can be found at www.firstam.com.