North Africa/Middle East

Kuwait's Investment Dar, the Islamic financial firm that owns half of British luxury carmaker Aston Martin, plans to present a proposed debt restructuring plan to creditors this month, the company said Sunday. The meetings organized by Dar and the nine-member Coordinating Committee representing creditors will take place in Kuwait and Dubai on November 24 and November 25 respectively, the company said in a statement. The creditors will have a period of time to review and approve the plan after the meetings, Dar said.
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Creditors of companies that go bust in the Emirates are likely to be paid less than in most other Arab countries, creating a deterrent to investment, says a report from the World Bank, The National reported. Policymakers in the country have been urged to focus their efforts on reforming the UAE’s insolvency framework to lay the foundations for a better business environment. Creditors get an average of 10.2 cents (37 fils) in the dollar if a company in the UAE files for bankruptcy, data from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation shows.
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Administrators of Bahrain-based The International Bank Corporation (TIBC), owned by the heavily indebted Algosaibi Group, say they are confident they can repay creditors as doubts persist whether there are enough assets to meet obligations, Reuters reported. TIBC, owned by Saudi group Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros (AHAB), plays a key role in the corporate debt defaults of AHAB and Saad Group, involving an estimated $22 billion in obligations.
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In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar, BusinessWeek reported.
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The Kuwait Islamic investment firm that owns half of British luxury car maker Aston Martin says it has appointed a chief officer to restructure its debts, BusinessWeek reported. The Investment Dar said in an announcement Sunday, the new manager, Mike Grant, brings to the company over 20 years of experience. The company is one of several Kuwaiti banks and investment houses to run into trouble as the global economic meltdown hammered this small oil-rich state in the Gulf.
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According to Lebanese media sources, Lebanese businessman and Hizbullah publishing executive Hajj Salah Ezzedine has declared bankruptcy, Al Bawaba reported. Ezzedine, from the town of Maaroub near the southern port city of Tyre, is the director of the Hizbullah-owned Dar Al-Hadi Publishing House, which has played a critical role in Hizbullah’s media campaign.
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Porsche on Thursday fired Wendelin Wiedeking, the high-profile chief executive who rejuvenated the nearly bankrupt sports car maker in the early 1990s but stumbled as a massive debt load torpedoed plans to take over the much larger Volkswagen concern, which will now absorb Porsche itself, The New York Times reported.
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Three more bidders are interested in taking a stake in German sports car maker Porsche, rivaling investment plans by Qatar, German magazine Focus reported on Saturday. In an advance release of remarks due to be published on Monday, Focus said without citing sources that a Chinese and a Russian sovereign wealth fund as well as a hedge fund were interested. Porsche, which owns 51 percent in Volkswagen, is seeking an outside investor after amassing €9 billion ($12.6 billion) in debt during a bungled attempt to dominate VW.
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Porsche has rejected Volkswagen AG's bid to take a 49 percent stake in the sports car maker, a company spokesman said Monday. Porsche Automobil Holding SE spokesman Albrecht Bamler said the offer by VW "is not a viable option," the Los Angeles Times reported on an AP story. Debt-laden Porsche, based in Stuttgart, has been holding talks with a Qatar state investment fund on a possible investment. Porsche confirmed earlier this month that it is in exclusive talks with the Qatar Investment Authority — the primary investment vehicle of the small, energy-rich state.
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