news release... news release... news release... news release... 107/07/GB 24 April 2007 “NEW POWERHOUSE” IN PROPERTY FINANCE Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank, Rothschild and Lanebridge Investment Management in new joint venture Mitre Capital Partners launched by former Ansbacher team led by Paul Cragg with financial backing of over £250 million A leading City property finance team led by Paul Cragg has joined forces with Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank, Rothschild and specialist commercial property fund manager Lanebridge Investment Management (Lanebridge) to form a new joint venture, Mitre Capital Partners (Mitre). Paul Cragg and his team were previously responsible for Ansbacher & Co’s commercial property finance business and Mitre will acquire their existing portfolio of commercial and residential development property loans. Paul Cragg becomes the new chief executive of Mitre, with Stephen Murrell, Carl Sutton and Joe Daniel becoming directors of the company. Mitre is majority owned by Alliance & Leicester which has a 51% stake in its voting shares, with Lanebridge holding 35.75% and Rothschild 13.25%. Alliance & Leicester’s will provide Mitre with a revolving credit facility amounting initially to £250 million, providing Mitre with additional financial resources. This will enable Mitre to grow its business, providing finance to experienced property developers for small to medium-sized commercial and residential developments, principally in the UK but also in certain Continental European markets, including France, Spain and Poland, where the management team has existing experience and there is existing portfolio exposure. More/… Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank, a trading division of Alliance & Leicester plc. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered Office: Carlton Park, Narborough, Leicester LE19 0AL. Company No: 3263713. Registered in England. www.alliance-leicester-group.co.uk Alliance & Leicester Commercial Finance plc. Registered Office: Carlton Park, Narborough, Leicester LE19 0AL. Company No. 1533123. Registered in England. A subsidiary of Alliance & Leicester plc. A member of the Alliance & Leicester Group. -2- Paul Cragg, Chief Executive of Mitre, says: “This is exciting news for the property development market and for us personally. The backing of three prestigious new investors, both as shareholders in our new joint venture company and as providers of funding in the case of Alliance & Leicester, gives us huge potential to grow our business. “There is strong demand for the innovative, flexible financing solutions that we can offer for a wide range of projects, both commercial and residential, in the UK and in selected Continental European markets. We have acknowledged expertise in delivering tailored solutions to professional developers who are looking for bespoke finance, particularly for schemes that are not pre-let or pre- sold, and who may struggle to raise more than 50% funding through traditional channels. Uniquely we operate on a genuinely non-recourse basis and can provide finance for up to 85% loan-to-cost. “This deal will be warmly welcomed by our many friends and business partners who will recognise that we now have the financial clout to make a much bigger mark on the industry. I am confident Mitre will become a new powerhouse in property finance.” Bryce Glover, Director of Corporate Banking at Alliance & Leicester, comments, “This is an excellent way of extending Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank’s involvement in property finance, working with specialist partners Rothschild and Lanebridge Investment Management. Paul Cragg and his team have an outstanding reputation in the market. With our backing and significantly greater financial resources we believe they can be even more successful in the future. We hope to use this joint venture model to pursue further opportunities in the property sector in due course.” - ENDS - More/… -3- For further information, please contact Andy Homer Alliance & Leicester Press Office 0116 200 3401 Mobile 07798 580833 Brian Thorn or Mark Baker The Wriglesworth Consultancy 020 7845 7900 Mobile 07712 188812 Note to Editors: Paul Cragg, Chief Executive of Mitre Bryce Glover, Director of Corporate Banking at Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank Photographs are available from the Press Office or at http://www.alliance-leicester-photos.co.uk (type Paul Cragg / Bryce Glover in the keyword box) About Mitre Capital Partners Mitre is 100% owned by a holding company, itself 51% owned by Alliance & Leicester, 13.25% by Rothschild and 35.75% by Lanebridge Investment Management. As at 31 December 2006, the commercial property finance business of Ansbacher & Co had gross assets of £129m. Mitre’s existing portfolio acquired from Ansbacher & Co is split as follows: 44% commercial; 27% residential; 3% investment; 5% land; 21% Continental Europe. The UK portfolio is broadly distributed around the country. Biographical information and photography on the directors of Mitre are available on request. More/… -4- About Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank provides a wide range of banking services for businesses of all sizes. It is a specialist provider of leasing, hire purchase and other finance products to sectors such as public bodies, bus and coach operators, the haulage industry and large fleet operators. In addition the bank also offers finance solutions to organisations in the aviation, shipping and the renewable energy sectors. It has a team of investment and development property finance specialists based in Manchester and London. At the end of December 2006 Alliance & Leicester’s commercial lending balances were £6.5bn, with some 12% representing property finance. About Rothschild Rothschild is an international investment bank with significant experience in the property sector, through the provision of senior debt, mezzanine and equity finance and its role as an independent specialist securitisation adviser. Projects which it has recently financed include: A £200m CMBS for Alburn Real Estate Capital, an Irish Property Company with substantial real estate investments in the UK and Ireland; and A £460m bridge financing and CMBS take-out for Plantation Place Limited, an investment vehicle comprising Insight Foundation Property Trust and Tishman International. About Lanebridge Investment Management Lanebridge Investment Management led by Stan Annison has considerable experience in property development and funding and believes that it can complement the expertise offered by Alliance & Leicester and Rothschild & Sons for the benefit of Mitre Capital Partners. Over the past four years the Lanebridge team has successfully sourced and syndicated the purchase and disposal of over £300m of commercial property. Unlike many Property Funds that exist in the marketplace Lanebridge Investment Management Directors co-invest in the syndicates. Total returns since the inception of the Fund have averaged in excess of 50% per annum. Stan Annison (Managing Director of Lanebridge Investment Management) says: “This new business allows our investors immediate access to the development funding market on a larger scale than previously achieved by way of syndications of standalone properties. This should hopefully mitigate the perceived risks of funding individual developments”.