Liquidators from Deloitte LLP, overseeing the break up of Abraaj Group’s private-equity unit, are asking the Dubai firm’s investors for additional legal protection and more money, the latest complication in the proposed sale of Abraaj’s assets, The Wall Street Journal reported. Representatives of the accounting firm have asked Abraaj backers for assurances that it won’t be sued over its role in the sale of some of the private-equity firm’s Africa and Middle East funds, people with direct knowledge of the insolvency process said.
United Arab Emirates
Jet Airways Ltd said here on Monday it has grounded four more planes and would delay paying interest on maturing debt in a fresh sign of deepening liquidity crisis engulfing the Indian carrier saddled with over $1 billion debt, Reuters reported. India's second-largest carrier has delayed payments to its pilots, suppliers and lessors for months and defaulted on loans, as it battles intensifying competition, a weak rupee and rising fuel costs. The airline said it will delay paying interest to its debenture holder, due March 19, owing to financial constraints.
Etihad Airways posted a loss of $1.28 billion in 2018, extending the deficit over three years to $4.8 billion, as the Gulf carrier pushes ahead with a cost-cutting plan to stabilize the balance sheet, Bloomberg News reported. The Abu Dhabi company, which has abandoned an attempt to build a global network of airline investments after a string of failures, canceled a further nine unprofitable routes last year, it said in an emailed statement Thursday. The review is ongoing and comes alongside a reduced delivery of new planes, with deals to slash $21.4 billion of orders agreed with Boeing Co.
DXB Entertainments PJSC said on Wednesday that the Six Flags theme park in Dubai had been put on hold as the financing for the project was no longer available, Reuters reported. The move is the latest sign that the Gulf’s leading tourism and commerce hotspot is being buffeted by the impact of an economic slowdown in the region triggered by lower oil prices and geopolitical tensions. DXB Entertainments said the decision came after its board in August 2018 mandated a strategic review of its future development plans and capital deployment.
British private equity firm Actis plans to instigate an investor vote from next week on its proposed takeover of one of Abraaj’s biggest funds, seeking indemnity from potential legal claims against the Dubai buyout group, said a source close to Actis. Abraaj was the largest buyout fund in the Middle East and North Africa until it collapsed last year after fallout from a row with investors, including the Gates Foundation, over the use of their money in a $1 billion healthcare fund, Reuters reported.
Etihad Airways has appointed turnaround specialist Alvarez & Marsal to conduct due diligence on Jet Airways Ltd as it weighs bailing out the cash-strapped Indian carrier, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Executives from Alvarez & Marsal are camped in Jet Airways’ offices in Mumbai and are taking stock of the airline’s operations and looking into its financial health and records, one of the sources said, Reuters reported.
Amlak Finance, a Sharia-complaint home financier in Dubai, initiated talks with creditors to restructure its debt again, The National reported. The company had previously restructured its Dh10.2 billion investment deposits and settled Dh2.8bn in cash with financiers in 2014, and subsequently revised the terms of the 12-year deal in 2016, Amlak said in a statement on Wednesday to the Dubai Financial Market, where its shares are traded.
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways on Wednesday said it has begun legal proceedings in London, disputing a claim by the administrators of Air Berlin for damages of up to 2 billion euros ($2.26 billion), Reuters reported. State-owned Etihad filed its case in the High Court in London on Wednesday, a company spokesman told Reuters, and believes that the case initiated in December by the German airline in Berlin should be determined by the English court. The insolvency administrator’s lawsuit said that Etihad had not complied with its financial obligations to Air Berlin.
Air Arabia said on Thursday it has begun legal proceedings against Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi in a court in Sharjah, the latest challenge for the founder of the collapsed private equity firm, Reuters reported. Air Arabia disclosed earlier last year it had an overall exposure of $336 million to Dubai-based Abraaj, which filed for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands. Air Arabia said in stock exchange filing that it has filed a “misdemeanor” case against Naqvi in Sharjah, one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The filing did not provide more details.
In a related story, Reuters reported that Etihad Airways has offered to invest in debt-laden Indian carrier Jet Airways Ltd at 150 rupees ($2.11) per share, along with an immediate release of $35 million after certain conditions are met, CNBC-TV18 reported here on Wednesday, citing sources. The offer comes at a staggering 49 percent discount to Jet’s closing price of 293.70 rupees on Tuesday. Jet Airways shares tumbled after the report, falling as much as 7.5 percent to 271.75 rupees in their biggest intraday percentage loss since Dec. 10, 2018.