North Africa/Middle East

Shareholders of United Arab Emirates-based Arabtec Holding PJSC, which helped build the world’s tallest skyscraper, voted to dissolve the debt-laden firm in a move likely to threaten thousands of jobs and scores of suppliers and sub-contractors in the Persian Gulf, Bloomberg News reported. Construction companies that sprang up more than a decade ago as a building bonanza swept Dubai and much of the Gulf are facing a reckoning as governments pull back on spending.

Read more

Arabtec Holding shareholders authorised the board of the Dubai-listed construction company on Wednesday to file for liquidation due to its untenable financial position following the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, an internal company email said, Reuters reported. Shareholders also authorised Arabtec to appoint AlixPartners and Matthew Wilde, or any other person or persons the board considered fit, as liquidator, two sources told Reuters.

Read more

Kuwait’s parliament passed a long-awaited insolvency law on Tuesday to help attract investment and commerce, Bloomberg Law reported. The absence of insolvency protection has been cited as a significant deterrent to foreign investment. The new law restructures the legal framework for bankruptcy to focus on rehabilitating troubled companies rather than liquidation.

Read more

In early September, six of Lebanon’s top bankers touched down in Paris. It was not a business visit — Lebanese lenders have been shunned by overseas counterparts since the state defaulted in March, the Financial Times reported in a commentary. Representing Lebanon’s powerful banking lobby, the financiers had gone to plead their case to some new sheriffs: French officials. French President Emmanuel Macron is corralling the international community’s efforts to help crisis-stricken Lebanon, while pressuring its unpopular leaders.

Read more

NMC Placed Into Administration In UAE

NMC has been placed into administration in the United Arab Emirates, allowing the troubled hospital group to meet September salaries by securing an additional $325m in funding, the Financial Times reported. During online hearings at the courts of Abu Dhabi’s international financial centre on Sunday, NMC Healthcare and related companies successfully applied for protection against enforcement of debt claims, in an emergency bid to sustain operations amid a second spike in coronavirus cases in the Gulf state.

Read more

Loss-making Dubai-listed contractor Arabtec Holding has hired advisory firm AlixPartners to help it restructure the company's debt, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, Reuters reported. AlixPartners is assessing the company’s debt profile, before any potential discussions with Arabtec’s creditors, said the sources, declining to be named as the matter is not public. Arabtec did not respond to a query for comment when contacted by Reuters on Thursday. AlixPartners declined to comment.

Read more

Abu Dhabi-based KBBO Group, once one of NMC Health Plc’s biggest shareholders, has hired a turnaround specialist to restructure its $2 billion debt pile, people familiar with the matter said, Bloomberg News reported. The privately-held investment firm with assets in health care and food named Bruno Navarro as its chief restructuring officer, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

Read more

Creditors have started to enforce claims against Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group, in a dispute triggered by a construction downturn in the United Arab Emirates more than a decade ago, Reuters reported. Al Jaber, a contractor with interests across a range of sectors, has struggled since building up debt in the wake of a UAE real estate crisis and began talks with creditors in 2011. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which is working as restructuring and security agent, said in a document dated Sept.

Read more

Philip Day’s retail empire could be broken up after the tycoon launched a review of high street chains including Peacocks and the Edinburgh Woollen Mill following a number of unsolicited offers, the Financial Times reported. Mr Day, who has made a fortune by buying and restructuring distressed retail businesses, has received interest from potential bidders for all or part of value fashion chain Peacocks and his collection of “heritage brands”, which includes Jaeger, Austin Reed and Jacques Vert.

Read more

Determining how much debt Dubai’s government has amassed depends on who’s counting, Bloomberg News reported. What is less in dispute is that the uncertainty comes at a cost. Unlike the government, Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings include Dubai’s local bank borrowings to make the calculation, arriving at an estimate of about 290 billion dirhams ($79 billion). The debt burden could equal 77% of this year’s gross domestic product, according to S&P, comparable with what the International Monetary Fund predicts for South Africa and just behind Oman.

Read more