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MOODY'S WARNS OF 2014 DEBT WALL

Dubai corporates 'to benefit from economic growth'

Dubai, March 11, 2013

The credit quality of corporates in Dubai is likely to benefit from emerging markets' growth prospects, strong oil prices and access to debt capital markets. However, the delay in addressing structural issues along with the $20 billion of direct debt maturing in 2014 will be a big worry, said a report.

The credit quality of corporates in Dubai is likely to benefit from the combination of emerging markets" growth prospects, strong oil prices and access to debt capital markets, said top ratings agency Moody's Investors Service in its new report.

However, the delays in addressing structural issues along with Dubai"s $20 billion of direct debt maturing in 2014 remain areas of focus for investors, the agency cautioned in its report "Dubai Corporates: Modest Economic Growth Benefits Corporate Credit Quality, But 2014 Debt Wall Looms," published today.

The credit quality of Dubai"s rated corporates is likely to benefit from economic growth in G-20 emerging economies of 5 to 6 per cent in 2013 and the positive impact of high oil prices on government budgets in the GCC.

Proxy trade indicators suggest that Dubai"s non-oil sector is growing in the low single digits. Buyers have snapped up new real estate developments by Emaar Properties (rated Ba3/stable), reflecting renewed investor confidence in a recovering property market.

This has also benefited the real estate and hospitality divisions of Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group (DHCOG, B2/stable).

However, 2014 will be a pivotal year for Dubai as $20 billion of direct government debt related to Dubai World becomes due, warned Moody's in its report.

Although the Abu Dhabi government and Abu Dhabi government-related issuers (GRIs) are the lenders to the government of Dubai, it will be constructive for the overall environment when clarity emerges as to how these maturities will be addressed though market expectations that they will be extended are a natural assumption, it stated.

Moreover, weaknesses in the institutional framework continue to cloud the picture. Little progress has been made on clarifying and strengthening the legal framework for insolvencies/debt restructuring, while details of the Dubai government"s capacity to support its GRIs remain uncertain, said the ratings agency in its report.

Overall, Moodys expects more issuers to access the debt market in 2013 to extend debt maturities, diversify debt instruments and seek medium-term refinancing.

Yield-hunting international investors have led Dubai government bond spreads to narrow, paving the way for recent debt and sukuk issuances by the sovereign, GRIs and corporates in the private sector. One example is Dewa, which sold $1 billion of sukuk this month, it added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: economy | Dubai | growth | debt | corporate | Moodys |

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