The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the largest provider of business information in United States and the leading provider of title insurance services globally, has announced that its European subsidiary, First Title Insurance plc, has provided title insurance coverage for the US $100 million 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 US $600 billion 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 US $4.4 billion, a clear indication that the U.S. and other foreign-based companies are increasingly investing further into the Eastern European market.
Source: First Title