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First Potomac Appoints New CFO

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Bethesda, MD-based real estate investment trust (REIT) – First Potomac Realty Trust recently announced the appointment of Andrew Blocher as the new Chief Financial Officer, effective October 8, 2012. The appointment followed the resignation of the existing CFO and Senior Vice President Barry H. Bass.

Barry H. Bass will leave First Potomac by September 10, 2012. Though the reason for his leaving is not known, he will support Blocher in his new responsibilities during the transition to ensure a smooth handover.

Bass has been with First Potomac for about ten years and has played a key role in strengthening the position of the company since its Initial Public Offering in 2003. During his tenure, he had chalked out an effective growth strategy and helped the company to emerge as one of the leading owners of office and industrial properties in the Greater Washington D.C. region.

The new CFO has had experience of more than 20 years in finance and capital markets, which includes 15 years of expertise in the REIT sector. Prior to joining First Potomac, Blocher had served as the CFO of the Rockville, MD-based REIT – Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT - Free Report) . Prior to that, he was a Vice President of CRIIMI MAE Inc. besides holding various positions at The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation .

The company remains optimistic with the appointment of the new CFO, as it expects to grow its business under his leadership. Management believes Blocher will add further value to First Potomac’s growth strategy and boost its balance sheet.

First Potomac owns, develops, redevelops and operates business parks and industrial properties in the metropolitan area of Washington D.C. and other submarkets of Maryland and Virginia. As of June 30, 2012, the company's portfolio comprises more than 14 million square feet of space and consists of 42% office, 22% industrial properties and 36% business parks.

In the recently completed second-quarter 2012, the company reported core FFO (Funds From Operations) of 32 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7 cents. The core FFO also outpaced the year-ago level of 28 cents. For full year 2012, the company raised the core FFO guidance to the range of $1.11 to $1.17 per share, from the earlier guidance range of $1.06 to $1.12 per share.

Currently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2012 and 2013 FFO per share are pegged at $1.14 and $1.13 per share. First Potomac carries a Zacks #3 Rank, signifying a short-term Hold rating. We presently have a long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

Note: FFO, a widely accepted and reported measure of the performance of REITs, is derived by adding depreciation, amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.

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