North Africa/Middle East

Liquidators from Deloitte LLP, overseeing the break up of Abraaj Group’s private-equity unit, are asking the Dubai firm’s investors for additional legal protection and more money, the latest complication in the proposed sale of Abraaj’s assets, The Wall Street Journal reported. Representatives of the accounting firm have asked Abraaj backers for assurances that it won’t be sued over its role in the sale of some of the private-equity firm’s Africa and Middle East funds, people with direct knowledge of the insolvency process said.

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The market’s memory is so short when it comes to Lebanon that a few weeks of government inaction all but wiped out a bond rally fueled by Gulf aid pledges and the end of a nine-month political stalemate, Bloomberg News reported. The brief morale boost is giving way to frustration among investors and creditors as a new cabinet formed in January fails to discuss, let alone act on, promised measures meant to shrink a yawning budget gap and jumpstart growth.

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Jet Airways Ltd said here on Monday it has grounded four more planes and would delay paying interest on maturing debt in a fresh sign of deepening liquidity crisis engulfing the Indian carrier saddled with over $1 billion debt, Reuters reported. India's second-largest carrier has delayed payments to its pilots, suppliers and lessors for months and defaulted on loans, as it battles intensifying competition, a weak rupee and rising fuel costs. The airline said it will delay paying interest to its debenture holder, due March 19, owing to financial constraints.

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Saudi Arabia, along with Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, came to the rescue of Bahrain last year when a prolonged period of lower oil prices pushed its public debt to nearly 93 percent of annual economic output, Reuters reported. Their $10 billion bailout pledge, along with Bahrain’s inclusion in JPMorgan’s emerging market indexes, have transformed its bonds from a busted bet to a boon for investors. The price of Bahrain’s 2028 dollar bonds has risen by a third from a record low last June when the country looked in danger of default.

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Delek Drilling said on Monday it was considering listing its holdings in the Leviathan natural gas field off Israel's Mediterranean coast on the London Stock Exchange as part of a corporate restructuring, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. Delek Drilling, a unit of conglomerate Israel's Delek Group, said it would retain its holdings in the Tamar and Dalit gas sites, also off Israel's coast, under the plan being considered.

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Etihad Airways posted a loss of $1.28 billion in 2018, extending the deficit over three years to $4.8 billion, as the Gulf carrier pushes ahead with a cost-cutting plan to stabilize the balance sheet, Bloomberg News reported. The Abu Dhabi company, which has abandoned an attempt to build a global network of airline investments after a string of failures, canceled a further nine unprofitable routes last year, it said in an emailed statement Thursday. The review is ongoing and comes alongside a reduced delivery of new planes, with deals to slash $21.4 billion of orders agreed with Boeing Co.

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Saudi conglomerate Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers (AHAB) said on Wednesday it had filed last week for a financial restructuring under Saudi Arabia’s new bankruptcy law, as it seeks to end a decade-long dispute with creditors, Reuters reported.  Saudi Arabia’s bankruptcy law, which came into effect in August, is an important step towards making the kingdom more investor friendly, offering a legal framework to struggling companies seeking to restructure debt following the 2009 global financial crisis and, more recently, weaker oil prices.

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The family of Israeli property tycoon Amir Dayan is among buyers of a portfolio of U.K. hotels leased to Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., according to people with knowledge of the deal. The group of nine hotels, which entered a form of bankruptcy protection under U.K. insolvency laws starting in early 2018, was acquired by companies controlled by Vivion Investments Sarl for 246 million pounds ($315 million), according to a filing by the administrators appointed to oversee the properties, Bloomberg News reported.

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A commercial court in Dammam has rejected an application by the conglomerate Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers (AHAB) to settle its debt under a new Saudi bankruptcy law, AHAB told Reuters on Wednesday. AHAB was the first high-profile company to file for a settlement under Saudi Arabia’s bankruptcy law, which came into effect in August last year, part of reforms aimed at attracting foreign investment and reducing the economy’s dependence on oil, Reuters reported.

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The powerful Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah on Tuesday urged the new government to launch talks with banks to bring down the cost of servicing the state's massive public debt, setting out its view on the major problem in unusually clear terms, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. The remarks by a Hezbollah lawmaker in parliament point to the wider influence his heavily armed group aims to exercise over the way Lebanon is governed as it departs from the more marginal role it has played in the past.

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