(Recasts, adds context)
DUBAI, April 23 Dubai Holding Commercial
Operations Group (DHCOG), part of a conglomerate
owned by the emirate's ruler, will repay $319 million of debt
more than 18 months early, the latest state-linked company to
settle restructured loans ahead of time.
Sovereign-linked entities in Dubai were forced to
renegotiate billions of dollars of liabilities at the turn of
the decade after a local property crash and a lack of
refinancing options in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Maturity dates for much of the restructured debt were
extended to allow time for economic conditions to improve and
for companies' assets to increase in value before their sale.
The Dubai economy has made significant progress in recent
months, with property prices gaining more than 20 percent and
the stock market continuing to strengthen after doubling in
value last year, allowing companies to return cash to lenders
DHCOG, which last month reported that 2013 profit nearly
tripled from a year earlier, said on Wednesday that it will use
available funds to repay on May 13 the outstanding sum on a $555
million loan due to mature in December 2015.
The move follows property developer Nakheel's
February repayment of 2.35 billion dirhams ($639.8 million) of
bank debt 18 months ahead of schedule.
Last month one of Dubai's top economic policymakers,
Mohammed al-Shaibani, told Reuters that Dubai World,
whose request in November 2009 for a $25 billion debt
renegotiation shook global markets, intended to make early
repayments on some of its rescheduled obligations.
DHCOG, part of Dubai Holding, runs multiple businesses
including hotel group Jumeirah, business park TECOM Investments
and Dubai Properties Group.
($1 = 3.6730 UAE Dirhams)
(Reporting by David French and Matt Smith; Editing by David