North Africa/Middle East

Dubai International Capital Wednesday sent a letter to senior lenders of German aluminum company Almatis, urging them to vote against a restructuring plan from distressed-debt investor Oaktree Capital, Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review reported. The letter comes on the eve of Almatis' management filing to place the company in U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings as part of Oaktree's restructuring plan to more than halve Almatis' $1 billion debt to around $422 million.
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Dubai World could see a response this month from banks to a proposed restructuring offer for about $23 billion of debt, according to the chief executive of one of its largest lenders, Dow Jones reported. "There's a set deadline in weeks," Alaa Eraiqat of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, one of seven lenders that form a creditor committee for Dubai World, told reporters Monday. Other banks on the committee that represents more than 90 Dubai World creditors include HSBC Holding PLC, Standard Chartered PLC, Lloyds Banking Group PLC and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC.
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The International Islamic Financial Market, the Bahrain-based organization seeking to set standards for Islamic securities, may issue new global guidelines to facilitate the sale of Shariah-compliant bonds, an official at the industry body said, BusinessWeek reported. “There is no one, cross-border, common benchmark for sukuk,” IIFM’s Chief Executive Officer Ijlal Ahmed Alvi said in an interview in Dubai last week.
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Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester has joined other creditors in lending his support to the $9.5 billion (£6.3 billion) restructuring of Dubai World, The Scotsman reported. Hester told regional newspaper Gulf News that the plan has sent out the "right signals". RBS was among the seven-member panel which held negotiations between the conglomerate and its other creditors, which total more than 90. Hester's comments come a day after two other creditors, HSBC and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, lent their approval to the plan.
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The mayor and city treasurer of the western Negev city of Sderot say their town is tottering on the brink of bankruptcy, Haaretz.com reported. Treasurer Shimon Peretz says that the cumulative deficit of the municipality stands at NIS 28 million. Mayor David Buskila and Peretz claim that the deficit is the result of the cessation in the flow of charitable donations to the municipality, which ceased with the flow of thousands of Qassam rockets which rained down from nearby Gaza for years.
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UAE banks are likely to keep a tight lid on lending in coming years, even if the sector manages to avoid an immediate hit from the Dubai World debt restructuring, analysts say. The state-owned conglomerate, which is grappling with $26 billion in debt, is in the final stages of preparing a debt restructuring plan to put to its 97 creditors. Analysts have voiced concerns that domestic lending would dry up if banks are forced to take big losses on Dubai World-related debt.
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STX Group, one of the nation's leading shipbuilders, has joined the competition to take over Daehan Shipbuilding, The Korea Times reported. The company said Wednesday it had submitted a bid to buy the cash-strapped firm the previous day, the closing day for the tender. Daehan Shipbuilding, now under a debt rescheduling program, has a 140,000 square-meter dock in Haenam, South Jeolla Province.
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Dubai World will present a proposal to creditors in March to restructure about $22 billion of debt after its advisers complete valuing the assets of the state- owned company, a person close to the Dubai government said, BusinessWeek reported. The final proposal will be made after consultations with the Abu Dhabi government and the United Arab Emirates’ central bank, said the official today, who declined to be identified because the process is private.
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Dubai's $10 billion aid from Abu Dhabi in December, which helped the emirate avoid default on a state-linked developer's bond, included $5 billion previously lent by two Abu Dhabi banks, a Dubai government spokeswoman said on Monday, Reuters reported. It had been unclear whether Abu Dhabi's $10 billion lifeline on December 14 -- which enabled Dubai World to repay a $4.1 billion Islamic bond, or sukuk by developer Nakheel -- was entirely new money or included the bond to Abu Dhabi-controlled banks.
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