North Africa/Middle East

The Dubai World debt saga is finally about to end. At least so the troubled conglomerate would have us believe, after claiming support from a majority of creditors for restructuring the billions of dollars it owes them, The Wall Street Journal’s The Source blog reported. Admittedly the claim came a day after the deadline late last week for Dubai World’s senior creditors to accept a lock-up agreement. But, still, Dubai’s powers that be clearly reckon the development warrants celebration and they may be right, at least in the near term.
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Dubai World, the ports and real-estate conglomerate that shocked global investors late last year by delaying debt payment, said Friday it had won support from 99% of its creditors for its restructuring plan, putting a final deal for over $24.9 billion in debt one step closer, Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review reported. In a statement Friday, the company and its owner, the government of Dubai, said they were pleased with the outcome.
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More than 90% of Dubai World's creditors, holding around $14 billion of debt, have agreed to a lock-up deal, a person familiar with the situation said, Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review reported. The lock-up agreement - preventing the creditors from selling their debt - is a step toward the restructuring of around $23.5 billion in debt under the Dubai World corporate umbrella. A consortium, comprised largely of banks, is required to sign up to the lock-up for the restructuring to go ahead.
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Dubai World's willingness to sell prized assets such as ports operator DP World to pay down its debt pile is considered such a drastic move that analysts see it more as a last-resort bargaining tactic. Documents obtained by Reuters this week revealed the surprising news that the debt-laden conglomerate was willing to let go of "strategic assets" such as DP World, Jebel Ali Free Zone and Dubai Maritime City (DMC) as part of a $19.4-billion fundraising effort as it tries to reach a restructuring deal with creditors by October 1.
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Dubai World plans to raise as much as $19.4 billion by selling off prized assets over eight years to pay off creditors burned by its overambitious expansion, according to a document obtained by Reuters on Wednesday. The state-owned conglomerate told creditors at a July 22 meeting, held at Dubai's lavish Atlantis Hotel, that its capital structure was inappropriate and needed "urgent" restructuring, according to the document handed out at the meeting.
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Nakheel, a troubled Dubai-based developer, has paid Dh2.5bn ($681m) to trade creditors as it pushes towards agreement on Dh4bn in unpaid bills to contactors as part of the broader restructuring at Dubai World, its parent, the Financial Times reported. Ali Lootah, Nakheel’s chairman, told a local newspaper on Sunday that the developer had agreed claims with 80 per cent of its trade creditors as it pushes towards the 95 per cent threshold needed to finalise a restructuring agreement.
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Dubai International Capital, the private equity arm of the Gulf Arab emirate, said it will focus on bringing German aluminium maker Almatis out of bankruptcy after a long-running battle with a dissident lender ended, Reuters Africa reported. Oaktree Capital Management LP withdrew its opposition to DIC's plan to retain control of the bankrupt firm after a settlement offer was leaked. Oaktree and Dubai have been battling over the best way to refinance Almatis, which filed for bankruptcy in the United States with more than $1 billion in debt, for the past year.
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Almatis Group said it has lined up $592 million to fund a potential restructuring plan that would see it exit bankruptcy under the ownership of Dubai International Capital, Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review reported. In court papers filed Monday, the aluminum company said it expects to ask the bankruptcy court shortly for permission to strike a deal with various firms that are willing to back the Chapter 11 plan of reorganization that current Almatis owner Dubai International Capital wants to sponsor.
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Israel's only rehabilitation and training center for the blind and sight-impaired will be sent into receivership, the Haifa District Court said yesterday after the government refused to cover the nonprofit organization's NIS 11 million deficit, Haaretz.com reported. Sources at Migdal Or (Tower of Light ) told Haaretz the operating expenses for the center and its various units are higher than what the state is willing to invest. The center, located in Kiryat Haim near Haifa, is operated on behalf of the Social Affairs Ministry at an annual budget of NIS 14 million.
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