Dubai World may get breather from banks

Banks are expected to support Dubai World’s request, but what happens next will depend on the information they receive about the health of its finances, as the scale and complexity of the restructuring and its political overtones put creditors in uncharted territory.

“You can’t bet on it, because anything could happen; it could be anything from a complete write-off to 100 per cent recovery,” a senior banker said.

Dubai’s $10 billion bailout from neighbouring Abu Dhabi, the richest of the United Arab Emirates, will be used to keep Dubai World’s debt payments current, but a person with knowledge of the situation said these funds were contingent upon creditors reaching a sensible standstill agreement.

The emirate’s new bankruptcy law, introduced by decree this week, could provide additional incentive to strike a deal.

Dubai World’s meeting with a group of 90 of its lenders at its offices in Dubai on Monday is expected to lead to a lengthy debt rescheduling involving extra support from Abu Dhabi or the UAE Federation, bankers said.
“We are going to pitch up, hear what they say, give our views, wait for the formal extension request and work on a restructuring,” a Dubai-based banker close to the talks said.

With so many lenders and different debt instruments involved, Dubai World is unlikely to issue a single standstill agreement, a third banker close to the talks said.
It is expected to tackle some of its bilateral loans first, since these fall due before other syndicated loans and bonds maturing in the next couple of months, two bankers said.

“The initial focus is on bilaterals that expire sooner,” the third banker added.

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