Saudi Saad Woes Deepen on Downgrade, Restructuring

Problems deepened at Saudi conglomerate Saad Group late on Tuesday after credit agencies slashed ratings to default status or withdrew coverage altogether, saying Saad had ceased to pay creditors, Reuters reported. Saad said it had appointed specialist firm BDO Capital Finance to restructure its obligations and those at its Bahrain-based unit, Awal Bank. "Both the Saad Group and Awal Bank are confident of a successful restructuring," Saad said in a statement. Saad's woes have rattled a $30 billion empire built by billionaire Maan al-Sanea and represent one of the biggest defaults to hit the Gulf Arab region since the onslaught of the financial crisis. Privately-held Saad Group sent shockwaves through the Gulf on Monday, saying it plans to restructure the debt of its units hurt by a liquidity squeeze brought on by the financial crisis, as ratings agency Moody's cut its ratings on the group to junk status. Read more.