Dubai World gets all lenders on board in debt deal

AP News
Posted: Oct 27, 2010 2:55 PM
Dubai World gets all lenders on board in debt deal

Dubai World secured full creditor support for its $24.9 billion debt restructuring plan after the last holdout lender unloaded its claim, representatives for the companies said Wednesday.

The deal closes one chapter in Dubai's efforts to get its financial house in order nearly a year after it shocked global markets by acknowledging it couldn't repay all its bills.

State-owned Dubai World announced last month that nearly all its creditors had signed on to the debt restructuring plan, which extends the amount of time the firm has to repay lenders. The lack of total agreement could have drawn it into protracted and potentially costly legal wrangling.

Dubai World confirmed it had all lenders on board but gave no details.

"We've reached a 100 percent agreement with creditors," a spokesman said, speaking on standing company rules of anonymity.

Dubai World gained full support after a U.S. distressed debt firm that had been holding out on the deal sold a $5 million sliver of debt to Deutsche Bank, according to a report Wednesday in the Financial Times.

Jennifer Burner, a spokeswoman for the debt firm, Aurelius Capital Management, confirmed the accuracy of the report but offered no further comment.

Deutsche Bank spokesman Michael Lermer declined to comment, citing a possible relationship with a client.

Dubai worked for months to convince more than 70 lenders to sign on to its restructuring plan. The deal offers creditors full repayment on the principal of their outstanding loans over a five to eight year period. Several banks balked at the interest rates being offered as too low.

A group of seven lenders owed the majority of the debt _ Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, HSBC Holdings PLC, Lloyds Banking Group PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and Standard Chartered PLC, and local banks Emirates NBD and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank _ agreed to the proposal in May. Convincing smaller lenders took longer.

A Russian Ham Sandwich
Derek Hunter

Creditors not wanting to take the restructuring offer could have taken their case to a special tribunal set up by the government. That route is untested, however, and could have exposed lenders and Dubai World to months of litigation.

The company's sprawling business interests range from seaports and hotels to luxury retailer Barneys New York and a stake in the CityCenter complex on the Las Vegas Strip.

Dubai is eager to move beyond the crisis, which has bruised the city-state's reputation, because it must still tackle billions more dollars of debt owed by other state-linked companies. The International Monetary Fund estimates the emirate and its web of state-linked companies owe as much as $109 billion.