x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Abu Dhabi's TDIC weighs sale of assets

The emirate's Tourism Development and Investment Company is considering asset sales to pay off debts.

Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), the developer of projects including the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in the capital, is considering selling some of its assets to pay its debts.

Apartments and hotels on Saadiyat Island and in the Eastern Mangroves development are among the assets the developer is contemplating selling.

"We have assets on the market today to sell... into private hands and spur investment in Abu Dhabi," Shaun O'Connor, the chief financial officer of TDIC, was reported as saying.

"Around six buildings, we're talking about taking to the market on a sales strategy because there's an appetite for the product. I'd like to see someone come in with a large hotel fund and buy some hotels."

The developer is reported to be in talks with Gulf investors, with deals expected to be concluded as soon as the end of the first half of this year. TDIC declined to comment further.

It has US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) worth of bonds maturing in 2014.

Money raised from any sales would be used in part to pay off these debts, and TDIC is also considering extending the bonds, according to the report.

Work on TDIC's Saadiyat Island development has been delayed, with the company last month announcing a new timetable for three of the museums on the island.

The Louvre is expected to be the first for completion, with an opening date of 2015. The Zayed National Museum is scheduled to follow a year later, while the Guggenheim is expected to open in 2017. TDIC is planning to re-tender the Louvre Museum this quarter.

The St Regis hotel and apartments opened on Saadiyat Island at the end of last year, but other hotel projects planned for the island were delayed amid difficult market conditions.

TDIC will need to raise Dh2bn to Dh3bn a year to fund construction of the projects in the next few years, it told The National late last year.

In July, TDIC cancelled a $3bn bond offering, citing market conditions, but it has indicated it may consider returning to the capital markets this year.

rbundhun@thenational.ae

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