x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Details of Dubai World $10bn relief package emerge

Details have emerged about terms attached to Dubai World's US$10 billion (Dh36.73bn) relief package from Abu Dhabi.

Details have emerged about terms attached to Dubai World's US$10 billion (Dh36.73bn) relief package from Abu Dhabi. The help came in the form of a five-year bond with annual interest of 4 per cent, an informed source told Bloomberg. That was the same rate Dubai paid for previous aid, including a $10bn bond bought by the Central Bank in February and $5bn in financing it lined up last month from two Abu Dhabi Government-owned banks.

Analysts had said after the announcement of the package on Monday that its terms were probably similar to those attached to the financing Dubai had previously secured. Part of the $10bn was used to repay a $3.5bn Islamic bond issued by Nakheel, a property developer owned by Dubai World, in 2006. Investors in the Islamic bond, or sukuk, were paid on Tuesday, according to a statement on the website of NASDAQ Dubai.

Dubai World paid $4.1bn to settle the debt a day into the 14-day grace period after it was due, including its $3.5bn face value plus deferred profits, and compensation for an option to convert into an equity stake in Nakheel that was not exercised. The $5.9bn that remains is to be used in a variety of ways, said a statement from the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Council, which oversees the Dubai Financial Support Fund that was set up to administer support given to government-owned firms.

First, the company must secure a standstill agreement with creditors to delay payments on debt until at least May 30. Dubai World is meeting creditors in Dubai next week to begin negotiations. Once the agreement is in place, it will be free to use the $5.9bn as working capital to finance day-to-day operations. It also could use the funds to settle trade finance agreements and pay contractors. The company has until April 30 to use the funds, presuming it can reach the standstill agreement with creditors.

As that process unfolds, Dubai World is set to restructure $26bn in debt, or almost a third of the $85bn Dubai and its government-owned companies are estimated to owe. @Email:afitch@thenational.ae