North Africa/Middle East

The Iraqi government has said it will close the state-owned Iraqi Airways after declaring it bankrupt, the BBC reported. Iraq's transportation ministry told reporters the airline would be closed following a damaging dispute with Kuwait over war reparations. Kuwait Airways says the Iraqi flag carrier owes it about $1.2bn for aircraft and plane parts taken during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. All scheduled Iraqi Airways flights have been cancelled.
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The reform of the UAE's insolvency framework is at the centre of government plans to address vulnerabilities in the country's financial system, a top official said on Sunday, ArabianBusiness.com reported. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Supreme Fiscal Committee and chairman of Emirates Group, said "urgent steps" were being taken to address gaps in the UAE's legal and regulatory infrastructure.
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Dubai World's agreement with its core bank creditors to extend maturities on loan repayments and pay back debt at likely lower interest rates sets an example of how Dubai and Greece could manage their debt problems, Deutsche Bank's (DB) chief executive in the Middle East and North Africa said Friday. "They started a process, the market is favourable, it's an indication of how things should be done," Henry Azzam told Zawya Dow Jones on the sidelines of an economic forum in Lebanon.
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Dubai World has agreed economic terms with its main creditors over the most controversial aspect of the state-owned company’s $23.5 billion debt restructuring, providing hope that the major drag on the emirate’s economy can be removed quickly, the Financial Times reported. The troubled conglomerate said on Thursday that the holding company’s co-ordinating committee of financial creditors, representing 60 per cent of the debt owed to lenders, had agreed in principle terms on the $14.4bn owed by the holding company in a proposal presented at the end of March.
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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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