Saudi Arabia's Algosaibi calls May creditor meeting -bankers
ABU DHABI, March 31
ABU DHABI, March 31 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian conglomerate Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers has called a meeting of creditor banks in Dubai on May 7 to discuss a proposed settlement of billions of dollars of unpaid debt, commercial bankers said on Monday.
The 2009 collapse of Algosaibi's Bahrain unit, The International Banking Corp, and Awal Bank, owned by Maan al-Sanea, the Saudi billionaire head of the Saad Group, left over 100 banks owed an estimated $22 billion.
Since then, the Algosaibi family and al-Sanea have faced off in courts in New York, London and elsewhere. The Algosaibis claim al-Sanea, who married into the family 30 years ago, defrauded them of billions of dollars; Al-Sanea and the Saad Group have denied the allegations.
The commercial bankers, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said it was not clear exactly how much debt would be covered by any proposal from Algosaibi. An Algosaibi spokesman and lawyers for the group could not immediately be reached to comment.
"It will be interesting to see what the outcome will be. The group has so many claims and counter-claims from suppliers and others and the key question is how do you intend to settle those claims and the court cases," one Gulf banker said.
He predicted the offer would be around 5 to 7 cents on the dollar, adding that since United Arab Emirates banks had already written off most of their Algosaibi debt, they faced little downside.
A second banker in the Gulf said the meeting had been called for international and regional banks, not those with exposure to Algosaibi's domestic debt within Saudi Arabia.
Last June, Algosaibi said it had hired three people from the accounting firm Deloitte to senior management positions. Simon Charlton was appointed chief restructuring officer and acting chief executive officer. (Reporting by Stanley Carvalho and Mirna Sleiman; Writing by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Larry King)