x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Dana Gas chief plans to step down

Dana Gas's chief executive plans his retirement a month before troublesome debt is due

Ahmed Al Arbeed, the chief executive of Dana Gas, will retire in September, a month before the company is due to repay a US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) sukuk that has been causing jitters in the financial markets.

The news comes after it emerged this week that Dana, the only publicly listed gas producer in the region, has appointed the US private-equity firm Blackstone Group to help it restructure its debt, having already appointed Deutsche Bank to this end this year.

The yield on Dana's Sharia-compliant bond rose by almost 2 percentage points to 62.85 per cent yesterday, the highest since January.

The company's market value has suffered from the uncertainty over the debt. Its share price rose only marginally after Dana announced it had tripled its full-year profit for 2011, but it remained silent on the sukuk.

Mr Arbeed plans to remain on the board at the company he has led for the past three years.

Experts played down the significance of the move.

"It's really irrelevant to the sukuk redemption. Its not an immediate departure. It's still on his plate and he'll still have to deal with it," said Haissam Arabi, the chief executive at Gulfmena Investments.

Dana Gas is a subsidiary of Crescent Petroleum, based in Sharjah.

Boosted by increased production in Egypt and Kurdistan, Dana recorded a profit last year of Dh506 million on revenue of Dh2.53bn. Its share price has been reduced to a tenth of its worth at the time of its initial public offering in 2005.



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