North Africa/Middle East

Hospital operator NMC Health is looking to raise up to $250 million in debt while it prepares for insolvency proceedings in the United Arab Emirates and has picked Perella Weinberg Partners to advise it on the process, sources said, Reuters reported. The company, run by administrators Alvarez & Marsal, has also tasked Perella to advise it on the sale of UK-based Aspen Healthcare, a company it acquired in 2018, the two sources familiar with the matter said.

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Some of the world’s largest developing economies are set to face a fiscal crisis in the coming years unless they can roll back huge increases in public spending enacted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, analysts have warned, the Financial Times reported. The economic downturn caused by the pandemic, combined with rising healthcare spending to tackle the spread of the virus, have caused budget deficits to soar in many countries. They will have to face the choice of risking public unrest by cutting back on spending, or negotiating with investors to restructure their debts.

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Lebanon’s central bank has set up a committee to restructure financially stricken commercial banks and study their performance, according to a memo by the bank seen by Reuters on Thursday, Reuters reported. The panel will also propose measures to preserve the soundness of the banking sector, the memo said. Lebanese banks are poised for a major shake-out after the country plunged into a financial crisis last October that has ballooned prices, slashed jobs, and brought on capital controls that have frozen people out of their dollar savings.

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The International Monetary Fund urged Lebanese authorities on Monday to unite around a government rescue plan and warned that attempts to lower losses from the financial crisis could only delay recovery, Reuters reported. The government’s rescue plan has served as the cornerstone of talks with the IMF and maps out massive losses in the financial system. The talks have been bogged down by a row over the scale of financial losses that has embroiled the government, the central bank, commercial banks and lawmakers from Lebanon’s main political parties.

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Glencore Plc has restructured a $500 million oil-for-cash loan to Kurdistan in northern Iraq, reducing payments for 2020 as the semi-autonomous region struggles due to low petroleum prices, Bloomberg News reported. The pre-payment deals have been popular among some African and Middle Eastern producers with few others ways of raising funds. But they have also proved controversial, in some cases creating an opaque form of debt that puts governments’ finances under strain when oil prices drop.

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The Jordanian Cement Factories Company said on Sunday that it was filing for insolvency, citing adverse financial conditions, worsening as a result of the novel coronavirus, as the reasons for the move, the Jordan Times reported. Insolvency is a state of financial distress in which someone or a company is unable to pay its bills.

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Lebanese lawmakers urged the government to avoid a default on its local-currency debt and asked it to reevaluate central bank liabilities to help secure a critical bailout from the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg News reported. Member of parliament Ibrahim Kanaan said Wednesday that the IMF held a meeting with lawmakers earlier this month and told them Lebanon faces a choice of “no reform, no program” -- referring to the $10 billion loan the government is trying to negotiate with the Washington-based lender.

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KBBO Group, whose chairman is a significant shareholder in troubled hospital group NMC Health, said on Wednesday it had hired advisers to restructure outstanding liabilities, Reuters reported. The group has appointed Trussbridge Advisory and PwC Middle East as financial experts, while Hadef & Partners LLC and Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton LLP have been appointed as legal advisers, it said in a statement. It did not disclose its outstanding debt.

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Dubai World has made a final $8.2bn payment to creditors, ending the most complicated and highest-profile restructuring to stem from the debt crisis that almost overwhelmed the Gulf emirate a decade ago, the Financial Times reported. Dubai was forced to raise $20bn in emergency loans in 2009 to cope with the credit crunch and to prevent a default by Dubai World’s main real estate arm that was heavily exposed to the then collapsing property market.

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