* Dana Gas' $920 mln convertible Islamic bond matures Oct.
* Non-payment on maturity will be first ever for a UAE bond
* Dana reached standstill agreement in Oct - source
* Shares drop 8.5 pct before recovering, bond price slides
(Adds share, bond price, details on bond holders, background)
By Dinesh Nair and Amran Abocar
DUBAI, Oct 30 Dana Gas is set to
become the first United Arab Emirates (UAE) company to fail to
pay an Islamic bond on maturity, three sources familiar with the
matter said on Tuesday, sending its stock and bond prices
The UAE's largest listed natural gas firm, hit by payment
delays from Egypt and Iraq's Kurdistan region, will not repay a
$920 million convertible Islamic bond, or sukuk, when it matures
on Wednesday, the sources said.
However, Sharjah-based Dana has won more time to hammer out
a deal with bondholders, they added.
Dana Gas declined to comment.
Although indebted firms in the Gulf Arab state have extended
maturities on billions of dollars in bank loans since the onset
of the financial crisis in 2008-09, no sukuk have been
restructured or unpaid on maturity.
Saudi and Kuwaiti companies have defaulted on Islamic bonds
in the past, leading to complex debt negotiations which have
dragged on for years. Kuwait's Investment Dar, which co-owns
luxury carmaker Aston Martin, defaulted on a $100 million
Islamic debt issue in 2009.
Dana has a $1 billion sukuk maturing on Oct. 31. It
repurchased about $80 million of the sukuk in 2008, leaving $920
The five-year sukuk, which was issued with a 7.5 percent
coupon, has gained international interest as a majority of the
debt is said to be owned by large investment firms including
BlackRock Inc and Ashmore Group.
A source said that London-based Spinnaker Capital was among
large holders. An executive at Spinnaker in London said it does
not own Dana Gas bonds currently and has not held them before.
BlackRock owns about 30 percent of the outstanding sukuk,
according to two separate market sources.
There is "absolutely no chance" of a white knight swooping
in to repay the bond by the due date, a source close to the
In 2009, the Abu Dhabi government stepped in at the eleventh
hour to help Dubai repay developer Nakheel's $4.1 billion
The sources said Dana, in which Crescent Petroleum owns a
20-percent stake, reached a standstill a greement with creditors
in early October giving it six months to repay the bond.
Some creditors are preparing for a potential "post-default
scenario", one source familiar with the discussions said, in
which no deal would be reached at all.
STOCKS AND BONDS SINK
Shares in Dana fell 8.5 percent to 0.43 dirhams on the Abu
Dhabi bourse after the Reuters report before closing down 4.26
The shares have been battered by concerns over how Dana will
find funds to repay the bond and limited communication from the
company on the matter. The sukuk has a conversion price of 1.926
The sukuk, which is lightly traded, was
quoted at a bid price of 68 cents on the dollar on Tuesday, down
from 78 cents on the dollar on Monday, according to prices
quoted by Nomura.
Dana is to issue a statement on Wednesday or early Thursday
detailing its plans to restructure the bond, said two sources,
who spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.
There was a "high probability" the Dana sukuk will be
restructured, London-based investment firm Exotix said in a
report earlier this year, adding its restructuring valuation on
the privately-owned firm was 61.5 percent of par value.
Dana, which also has a 3-percent stake in Hungarian group
MOL, is not seen as a strategic entity for the UAE and
so any government support is unlikely.
In May, Dana said it wanted to find a consensual deal with
sukukholders to repay the bond, and said it had hired Blackstone
Group, Deutsche Bank and law firm Latham &
Watkins as advisers.
Investors have hired Moelis and law firm Linklaters as
Dana, which has operations in the UAE, Egypt and Iraq's
Kurdistan region, says its cash flow has been affected by global
economic conditions and regional events, including Egyptian
unrest last year which delayed payments.
The company had a cash balance of 601 million dirhams ($164
million) as of June 30, 2012. Outstanding receivables on Egypt
gas deliveries stood at 729 million dirhams and 1.2 billion
dirhams in the Kurdistan region at that time.
In a recent interview, Dana board member and Crescent Chief
Executive Majid Jafar said Egypt was paying the company for all
fuel it was receiving from its operations and was optimistic
outstanding payments would be settled.
Jafar said last week talks between the company and creditors
were still ongoing, and have been "amicable and friendly."
(Additional reporting by Mirna Sleiman, Rachna Uppal, David
French and Daniel Fineren; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Mark
Potter and David Cowell)