United Arab Emirates

Dubai-listed contractor Arabtec has terminated thousands of workers again in recent weeks, sources said, as the construction firm prepares for liquidation after the coronavirus pandemic deepened its financial woes, Reuters reported. Arabtec Holding shareholders in September authorised the board to file for liquidation due to its untenable financial position. The company, which helped build the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, suffered a first-half loss of $216.18 million, piling up accumulated losses of nearly $400 million.

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Abu Dhabi’s government has stumped up around $22 billion for Etihad Airways since it began flying in 2003, underscoring the ambition of the oil-rich emirate to turn its national carrier into a global player before the effort faltered in recent years, Bloomberg News reported. The heavy investments, made before Covid-19 lockdowns strangled demand for air travel, were likely a prelude to support for the carrier this year, given the sector’s dire need for cash during the pandemic.

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Dubai real estate developer Union Properties has completed a payment of 70 million dirhams ($19.06 million) towards its largest lender as part of a debt restructuring plan, it said on Monday, Reuters reported. The restructuring plan, reached in August with its main lender Emirates NBD to restructure its outstanding debt of 946 million dirhams, aims to "improve the Group's cash-flow and restore its standing with the banking sector," the company said in a statement. Dubai’s real estate market, which has been slowing for most of the past decade, was further hurt by the coronavirus crisis.

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Union Properties PJSC is restructuring debt and trimming costs to weather a slump in Dubai’s real estate market, Bloomberg News reported. “We are focusing on restructuring our balance sheet, and all our efforts will be directed to reduce our accumulated losses in the past,” Vice Chairman Fathi Ben Grira said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. The company restructured 946 million dirhams ($258 million) of debt in August. Chronic oversupply has battered property values and rents over the past six years in Dubai.

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The English High Court appointed Ben Cairns and Richard Fleming of Alvarez & Marsal as joint administrators of NMC Health on 9 April 2020, but NMC Health’s operating subsidiaries in the Middle East, including its 36 UAE-incorporated subsidiaries (the NMC Companies), are not within the jurisdiction of the English courts and are not part of the English administration process, JD Supra reported. On 27 September 2020, however, the Courts of Abu Dhabi Global Market (the ADGM Courts) placed the NMC Companies into administration and appointed Ben Cairns and Richard Fleming as administrators.

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United Arab Emirates energy firm Dana Gas has raised a $90 million loan allowing it to redeem $309 million in bonds due at the end of October and avoid a third debt restructuring, Reuters reported. The company whose main assets are in Egypt and in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq said on Thursday it had obtained a one-year $90 million loan from Mashreq Bank. “In conjunction with the company’s cash reserves, the facility will allow full redemption of the sukuk at the maturity date of 31 October 2020,” it said.

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Arabtec Holding asked banks this week for a three-month standstill on debt repayments for its subsidiary Target, sources said, as the Dubai-listed builder that is facing liquidation seeks to save some of its business, Reuters reported. Target specialises in oil and gas projects and marine work with operations in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, its website says. Shareholders, including Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment Co, voted last month to liquidate Arabtec after losses deepened due to the coronavirus crisis.

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Just over six years ago, Dubai-listed Arabtec Holding had investors eating out of its hands. At a lavish shareholder meeting at Abu Dhabi’s St. Regis Hotel, the contractor that helped build the world’s tallest skyscraper, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, outlined plans for listings in London, Hong Kong and New York, Reuters reported. Those plans never materialised.

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Al Masah Capital Ltd., once among the Persian Gulf’s most active private equity companies, is being liquidated after being fined for allegedly misleading investors about fees, according to court filings in the Cayman Islands, Bloomberg News reported. The company’s collapse comes after Dubai’s financial watchdog in May penalized Al Masah, its founder Shailesh Dash, and two other executives on accusations that they also provided unauthorized services. The individuals were banned from working in the emirate’s financial center.

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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.

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