Crunch meeting with Dubai World today

Crunch meeting with Dubai World today

Creditors are meeting with Dubai World officials today (December 21) to try and strike a debt restructuring deal.

More than 90 banks are meeting with the developers today in an attempt to recover some of the $22bn in debts that it owes.

Abu Dhabi threw the group a temporary lifeline last week when it agreed to lend it $10bn – prompting ministers to declare the debt crisis was over.

However, celebrations may be a little premature as the rest of the United Arab Emirates are now concerned Dubai’s debts could drag the region down with it.

Abu Dhabi’s leading share index slumped 2.6 per cent yesterday to close at its lowest level since December 13.

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Today’s meeting is the first time Dubai World has met with its creditors since news of the crisis broke on November 25.

The state-owned business stunned global markets when it asked for its debt repayments to be frozen for at least six months.

The news led to a collapse in shares worldwide as the money markets feared the news could drag the world back into a second deeper recession.

In order to meet the Abu Dhabi’s terms for further support on the $5.9bn bail-out, Dubai World is expected to ask creditors to freeze debt repayments until next May.

The biggest creditors are made up mainly of UK banks who have formed a coordinating committee, chaired by Royal Bank of Scotland, which is believed to be owed up to $2bn.

Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC are have combined exposure in the region of about $5bn.

According to a report in today’s Times, the co-ordinating committee will attempt to force smaller lenders into accepting their terms for the debt restructure.

The banks want the payment freeze rather than have the group slip into administration.

Observers believe that Dubai World’s real estate assets are almost worthless following the collapse in Dubai’s property market.

However, much of this property including Palm Island is expected to recover in value in three years and could form part of a longer-term restructuring process.

Other assets including, New York-based department store Barneys and the QE2 cruise liner are expected to sold off.