x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Dubai Holding given $2bn boost from Government

Emirate chips in funds to troubled group as talks on debt restructure continue.

Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai.
Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai.

The Dubai Government has injected US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) into the indebted property and financial conglomerate Dubai Holding.

Mohammed al Shaibani, the deputy chairman of the emirate's Supreme Fiscal Committee, told the Financial Times the sum had already been put into Dubai Holding, which is in the process of renegotiating about $12bn of debts.

"I don't want to put any more in as the Government but I will do it as and when it's required," Mr al Shaibani said.

A spokeswoman for Dubai Holding would not comment. Dubai Holding is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Last week Dubai Group, the financial arm of Dubai Holding, announced it was in talks with creditors after reportedly missing repayments on some debts.

Mr al Shaibani said creditors should be prepared to take a "haircut" (a reduction in total repayment terms) on their Dubai Holding loans.

"It's always like this, yes … everybody has to chip in, everybody has to contribute, keeping in mind the long-term relationship," he said.

This is a similar strategy to the one employed in the 10 months of negotiations between Dubai World and its creditors. The property conglomerate recently agreed to new repayment terms with more than 90 banks.

The Government then put $9bn of equity into Dubai World, which restructured $24.9bn of debts over five and eight-year periods.

But Mr al Shaibani said there were differences between the two cases.

"Dubai Holding is not of the size of Dubai World," he said. "I mean, just like Dubai World it has some good assets, good performing assets, and there are some challenges in some other assets, and again, the challenges are in the international investments.

"Every company is different. Their needs or their requirements are completely different than the requirement of Dubai World so it's all tailor-made to their requirements and the needs of the particular company and the entities.

"We look at some of the businesses such as Jumeirah [the hotels and leisure business] and TECOM [the business parks and free zones unit] and some other entities in Dubai Holding, and they are doing quite well. They're the ones who are funding all the businesses going forward.

"So a lot of the Dubai-based companies are performing really well. It is only the international exposure that was giving us a bit of a challenge. We're working with our partners, we're working with the banks and the creditors and coming up with a plan and it's still a work in progress."

Mr al Shaibani said 70 per cent of Dubai Holding creditors were also creditors for Dubai World.

"We like these guys, they've been very supportive," he said. "… we wouldn't have done what we did without the support of the banks and the creditors.

"So they understand the situation, we understand the situation and both of us have interests to recreate the value again. Some of these companies they need a bit of time, they need a bit of restructuring, capital injection. Whatever is required, we plan to get."

Mr al Shaibani also said banks that had been supportive of Dubai in its restructuring would be in pole position to advise on any big mergers and acquisitions or public floats the emirate might be planning.

"Priority will definitely go to banks who have been very supportive," he said. "We are very loyal customers. We have to work together. I don't just use them when I need them."