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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Dana Gas says Sharjah Court allows it to take part in UK legal proceedings 

The Sharjah-based company seeking to appeal English Court ruling on validity of its $700m sukuk

A Dana Gas plant in Kurdistan. The Sharjah-based is embroiled in a legal battle with bondholders over its $700 million sukuk. Courtesy of Dana Gas
A Dana Gas plant in Kurdistan. The Sharjah-based is embroiled in a legal battle with bondholders over its $700 million sukuk. Courtesy of Dana Gas

Dana Gas, the Sharjah-based company in the midst of a legal battle to declare its US$700 million sukuk illegal, will be able to take part in proceedings in a UK court after the lifting of restrictions on its participation by a Sharjah court on Saturday.

The Sharjah Court of First Instance on September 17 issued an anti-suit injunction that prevented the oil and gas company from participating in the UK trial, where a London High Court judge ruled last month in favour of bondholders who are seeking payment of the sukuk that matured in October.

Dana Gas had declared in June that its sukuk, which it was seeking to restructure, is now non Sharia-compliant following developments in the Islamic finance, and that it is therefore not obliged to repay the debt to creditors. These include New York-based BlackRock, the world's biggest asset manager.

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“The [Sharjah] Court of Appeal has now lifted the anti-suit injunction which will allow the company to participate in all matters before the UK Court, including pursuing appeals against the English Court's decisions to date to join BlackRock to the UK trial,” Dana Gas said in a statement on its website.

Dana Gas said last month it planned to challenge the London court ruling, enforcing the legality of the company’s sukuk, as the judgement issued was "flawed".

The company also said on Saturday that the first hearing of the UAE court proceedings regarding the validity of its sukuk will take place on December 25.

“Currently, the company is restrained from progressing those proceedings as a consequence of an anti-suit Injunction issued by the English High Court at the instigation of BlackRock,” Dana Gas said. “The company will be taking steps to apply to have the English High Court lift the BlackRock anti-suit injunction prior to the 25 December 2017 in order to allow the company to appear before the Sharjah Court to present and progress its case.”

Following the London court ruling, the bondholder group, led by Blackrock, has called on the company to strike a deal.

On its part, Dana Gas has called on all parties to take part in the UAE proceedings to allow for a speedy ruling of the case.

“The company remains of the view that the dispute between the parties as to the validity of the sukuk cannot be finally resolved without the UAE Courts determining important matters of UAE law which governs the Mudarabah Agreement, being the umbrella agreement of the Sukuk,” Dana Gas said.