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Analysts Criticize Aladdin Casino Mall Owner

2 August 2002

NEW YORK -- Trizec Properties Inc. shares fell today after analysts cut their ratings, saying the company is acting against the interests of shareholders to shield its chairman, Canadian financier Peter Munk, from taxes.

Shares of the second-largest U.S. office REIT fell $2.04 to $10.91 at 11:14 a.m. on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares are down 30 percent since April 24, when the then Toronto-based company converted to a U.S. real estate investment trust.

Salomon Smith Barney's Jonathan Litt, ranked the No. 1 REIT analyst by Institutional Investor magazine, cut his rating to "sell" from "outperform." Litt and other analysts said the company is unwilling to buy back shares, which would boost the stock, because it would trigger tax liabilities for Munk.

"We believe the root of the issue is the lack of corporate governance in place at the company as a result of Chairman Peter Munk's control of the board," Litt wrote in a report. "This control has resulted in key decisions being made driven by a desire to preserve the tax basis rather than maximize shareholder value."

Trizec owns the massive Desert Passage mall at the Aladdin hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Desert Passage has been a financial disappointment due in part to problems at the bankrupt Aladdin

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