| ABU DHABI/DUBAI, April 3
ABU DHABI/DUBAI, April 3 Conglomerate Dubai
World has hired New York-based investment and
advisory firm Blackstone Group LP to take a fresh look at
its debt and how to make repayments to creditors, sources aware
of the matter told Reuters.
"This is only for advisory purposes and to streamline the
available options for the debt maturing in 2018," a Dubai
government source said, speaking on condition of anonymity under
He added that no further restructuring of Dubai World's debt
was proposed. "No restructuring is on the table."
In New York, a Blackstone spokesman confirmed that Dubai
World had hired it on a "debt optimisation mandate". He did not
The sources were speaking after state-owned Dubai World
ended a two-day annual meeting with its creditors this week. The
meeting was behind closed doors and no statement was issued upon
Dubai World ran into trouble during the emirate's 2009
property market collapse and had to restructure $25 billion of
debt, of which about $14.4 billion was owed to around 90 local
and foreign banks, and the remainder to the Dubai government.
The first big debt maturity under the restructuring plan
will come in May 2015, a $4.4 billion loan maturity, and is
being seen as an important test of the plan. Another big
maturity of about $10 billion is due in 2018.
Dubai World's ability to pay these debts will depend on its
sales of assets to raise funds, and some bankers have expressed
concern that disposals may not be proceeding fast enough.
However Mohammed al-Shaibani, chief executive of sovereign
wealth fund Investment Corp of Dubai and a key figure in
negotiating the emirate's debt restructurings in recent years,
told Reuters just before the creditor meeting that Dubai World
had the means to make the May 2015 repayment on time and expects
to pay off more of its debt ahead of schedule.
Reuters reported in March that Dubai World had repaid $284.5
million of its debts ahead of schedule.
"We are sitting with lenders to discuss options. We even
have some plans for the debt maturing in 2018 that we will
discuss with them in due course," Shaibani said.
He did not elaborate on proposed plans for the 2018 debt but
some bankers have speculated Dubai World could offer to buy back
some of it before maturity at a discount, satisfying foreign
banks which wanted to remove it from their books.
(Additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Writing
by Andrew Torchia)