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Dubai Group debt deal to be signed in Q2 – Noor CEO

Dubai Group nearing debt restructuring deal; Restructuring to involve loan extensions; Debt deal may not involve haircuts-Noor CEO


April 12, 2011 3:58 by

Dubai Group, part of a conglomerate owned by the emirate’s ruler, is nearing a debt deal with its lenders and an agreement may be signed within the second quarter, the head of one of its creditor banks said.

Financial services firm Dubai Group, a unit of Dubai Holding, set up a bank committee for debt restructuring talks last year. It has missed at least two scheduled payments on separate loans.

“We are at the final stages. We are happy with the progress. We expect a few minor details to be ironed out but we expect the deal to be signed,” said Hussain Al Qemzi, chief executive of Noor Islamic Bank, one of the banks on the creditor committee.

“Within the second quarter I see it will be definitely signed,” Qemzi told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai. Dubai Group, which focuses on banking, insurance and investments, has stakes in Dubai-based investment bank Shuaa Capital, Greek group Marfin Investment Group and Australian company Citigold Corp.

Its debt talks come on the heels of a raft of debt restructurings in the glitzy Gulf Arab emirate which overstretched itself on short-term debt to fund ambitious development projects and global investments.

A subsequent property collapse and the onset of the global economic downturn which shredded valuations left Dubai with few options but to seek extensions on its debt maturities.

Dubai-related entities, broadly known as “Dubai Inc” have been in the spotlight since state-owned conglomerate Dubai World shocked global markets in 2009 when it revealed it was unable to meet almost $25 billion in debt obligations.

The indebted firm reached a $25 billion restructuring agreement with its financial creditors in September, nearly a year after its debt problems came to light.

Dubai has about $30 billion in refinancing needs in the next two years and a total estimated debt burden of over $100 billion, according to Reuters data and analysts estimates.

By Shaheen Pasha

(Writing by Rachna Uppal; Editing by Dinesh Nair and David Cowell)


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