The National Investor to Secure 15% Stake in DEPA

The Leading Hotel Interiors Contracting Company in the Middle East Prestigious hotel interiors contracting company outlines future strategy for growth; estimates 25% market share and projects portfolio includes: Burj Al Arab, Abu Dhabi Conference Palace Hotel, Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Grand Hyatt Dubai Dubai, September 20th, 2004: DEPA, the Middle East’s leading hotel interiors contracting company, today announced that it has sold a 15% stake in the company to The National Investor, one of the leading UAE investment and merchant banks.

The acquisition includes five companies under the DEPA umbrella, three in the UAE (DEPA Interiors LLC Dubai, Pino Meroni Middle East LLC and DEPA Abu Dhabi for Decoration), one in Italy (DEPA SRL – Italy) and one in the UK (DEPA UK LTD). The National Investor led the origination and structuring of the transaction. Deloitte & Touche led the accounting due diligence while Al Tamimi and Company acted as the legal advisers on the transaction. DEPA appointed Ernst & Young as auditors and Galadari & Associates as legal advisors.

Mr. Riad Kamal, Chairman of DEPA, said: “By having The National Investor lead this consortium, we are developing a long-term strategic partnership with a high profile and reputable regional investment institution that will help us achieve our long term goals, whether that is a large private placement or an IPO in the future.”

With an estimated 25% market share and an exceptional track record of marquee projects such as Burj Al Arab, Abu Dhabi Conference Palace Hotel, Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Grand Hyatt Dubai, the new funding and strategic partnership will leave DEPA well placed to leverage the anticipated growth of hotels across the Middle East region.

Commenting on the investment, Mr. Abdullah Al Mazroui, Chairman of The National Investor, said: “In line with our strategy to identify solid companies with strong growth potential, DEPA represents an excellent investment that will allow us to capitalize on the expected boom of hotel developments in the UAE and the region. Conservative estimates project hotel rooms to increase from 15,000 to 75,000 rooms in the next three to five years in the UAE alone and DEPA is ideally positioned to benefit from this trend.”

Dr. Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer of The National Investor, added: “As a leading regional private equity player, we are continuously looking for solid companies with good profitability and a strong management team in high growth sectors. DEPA fits all of these criteria and is the best positioned player in the hotel industry to benefit from the expected surge of activities. We are committed to helping the company grow and we look forward to contributing to its future successes.”

Highlighting the Company’s potential, Mr. Mohannad Sweid, Managing Partner & CEO of DEPA, said: “This investment by this prestigious consortium will place us in a strong financial position, help us consolidate our number one position in this high growth industry and allow us to continue to provide the highest standards of excellence in each area of our operations, as well as continue to develop our capabilities to better service both regional and local markets.”

In its thirty years of operation DEPA has distinguished itself as one of the leading hotel, yacht and palace interior companies in the world. The company is a standard setter with its annual DEPA hotel awards and is now firmly positioned as the leading hotel interiors company in the Middle East with an estimated 25% market share in a market with a projected volume of AED19.1 billion in the coming 5 years (2005-2009).

Notes to Editor:

About The National Investor: The National Investor is a leading UAE investment and merchant bank with a distinguished track record in investment banking, asset management and private equity investments. The Company is backed by over 50 UAE shareholders who come from the highest echelons of the business community. The National Investor is currently ranked the number one leading arranger of public share offerings and is a growing force in bonds and mergers and acquisition. Through its Intelligent Capital merchant banking model is distinguishing itself through unique private equity investments and is actively involved in the local asset management scene.

About DEPA: DEPA is an Interior Contracting Company specializing in full scope Fit-Out and Furnishing of Luxury Hotels, Palaces and Prestigious Yachts, in the Middle East and various parts of the world. After Three decades of Prestigious Hotel Interiors accomplishments DEPA continues to present magnificent achievements in luxury Hotels turnkey interiors. DEPA’s main office is in Dubai with branches in Milan, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi.

DEPA’s international organization and aggressive team allows it to undertake jobs in various parts of the world. DEPA has achieved many Luxurious Hotel Interiors in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, USA, and Japan. The company built a vast information network with organizational ability and purchasing power. Some of DEPA’s references in Dubai are: Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach, Ritz Carlton, Grand Hyatt, Rotana, Fairmont, Hilton, in Egypt: Four Seasons Sharm El-Sheikh, , Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Four Seasons San Stefano, J.W. Marriott Cairo, Sheraton Alexandria, Hilton Luxor, Crown Plaza Sharm El-Sheikh, City Stars Cinemas – Cairo.