* Sheikh Ahmed says more Dubai companies to repay debt
* Dubai World $4.4 bln loan maturing in 2015
* Dubai's Emirates airline profit pose last financial year
(Adds Dubai World, Limitless, Emirates; comment on speed of
By Praveen Menon
DUBAI, May 6 Dubai will not have any issues in
repaying all its debt maturing in 2015, and more state-linked
firms are likely to repay obligations ahead of schedule, a top
government official said on Tuesday.
"We will have no issues in repaying debt coming up next
year," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, a close advisor
and uncle to Dubai's ruler.
Sheikh Ahmed, a key figure in the emirate's recovery from
its 2009 debt crisis, was speaking to Reuters on the sidelines
of a Dubai travel industry conference. He heads Dubai's supreme
"We saw some companies paid before time already. I think you
might see some more like this in the year to come."
The major upcoming debt is of flagship firm Dubai World
, which ran into trouble during the emirate's 2009
property market collapse and had to restructure $25 billion of
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 repaid $284.5 million of its debt in March,
ahead of schedule. It also hired New York-based investment and
advisory firm Blackstone Group LP to review its debt and
how to make repayments to creditors, sources told Reuters.
State-owned firms such as Nakheel and Dubai Holding
Commercial Operations Group DUBAHC.UL (DHCOG) have repaid
portions of their debt this year, ahead of maturity.
However, the emirate's ability to pay remaining debts will
depend on its sales of assets to raise funds, and some bankers
have said disposals may not be proceeding fast enough.
Dubai government-owned property firm Limitless has asked
creditors for more time to repay a $1.2 billion debt facility,
its chairman said on Tuesday.
Sheikh Ahmed is also chairman of Dubai's flagship airline
Emirates, which is expected to report its results for the
financial year to end-March 2014 on Thursday. He said the
company's profits would be higher than in the previous year.
(Editing by Andrew Torchia and Louise Heavens)