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.
North Africa/Middle East
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Authorities in Lebanon, which has one of the world’s highest debt to GDP ratios, have not asked the International Monetary Fund to provide funding, the IMF’s regional head told Reuters on Monday. Lebanon has some of the world’s worst debt and balance-of-payments ratios and recently spent more than nine months without a government it needed to enact long-overdue reforms, Reuters reported. Concern grew over the state of the economy and government finances as the impasse dragged on. But despite its problems, the government has avoided asking for IMF aid.
Lebanon is committed to launching fast and effective reforms that could be “difficult and painful” to avoid a worsening of economic, financial and social conditions, according to a draft government policy statement seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The statement sets the main policy objectives of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s national unity government that was finally formed last week after nine months of wrangling over cabinet portfolios, Reuters reported.
DXB Entertainments PJSC said on Wednesday that the Six Flags theme park in Dubai had been put on hold as the financing for the project was no longer available, Reuters reported. The move is the latest sign that the Gulf’s leading tourism and commerce hotspot is being buffeted by the impact of an economic slowdown in the region triggered by lower oil prices and geopolitical tensions. DXB Entertainments said the decision came after its board in August 2018 mandated a strategic review of its future development plans and capital deployment.