* Failed to redeem $920 mln sukuk last Wednesday
* First UAE company to miss bond redemption
* Company says sukuk restructuring talks continuing
* Sukuk holders have not revealed their intentions
* No impact on wider debt market
DUBAI, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Dana Gas, a natural gas producer based in the United Arab Emirates, formally ackowledged on Monday that it had failed to redeem a $920 million Islamic bond and asked holders of the sukuk to decide on their course of action.
Privately-owned Dana, headquartered in the emirate of Sharjah, did not repay the five-year sukuk on maturity last Wednesday, becoming the first UAE company to miss a bond redemption.
In Monday’s statement to the London Stock Exchange, where the sukuk is listed, the special purpose vehicle administering the bond declared a “dissolution event” had occurred.
This is a legal step that leaves the holders with a choice between liquidating the bond and claiming the assets backing it, or agreeing to restructure the sukuk in the hope of obtaining better returns.
In an earlier statement in the UAE on Monday, Dana said its talks with a committee of bondholders to amend and extend the terms of the sukuk “continue to progress constructively”. It did not say when any restructuring deal might be reached.
Dana has been hit by delays in recovering revenues from operations in Egypt and Iraq’s Kurdistan.
Although indebted firms in the UAE have restructured billions of dollars of bank loans, no UAE company before Dana has failed to repay a maturing bond, conventional or Islamic.
Holders of the Dana sukuk include big international investment firms such as BlackRock Inc and Ashmore Group . They have declined to comment on their stance toward the restructuring talks.
A September report by London-based investment firm Exotix estimated a liquidation of Dana’s sukuk assets could yield a recovery value of 47 percent of par for investors.
A five-year extension of the sukuk at the current 7.5 percent profit rate is most likely, Exotix said.
Although Dana’s failure to redeem the sukuk is unprecedented in the UAE, it has not damaged prices in the larger debt market, because the company is not believed to be strategically important to the UAE economy and its troubles are seen as an isolated case, debt traders said.