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Banks' committee set up for Al Jaber's debt

Abu Dhabi, April 17, 2011

A banks' committee to thrash out a debt restructuring with Abu Dhabi construction firm Al Jaber Group has been appointed, the logical next step towards agreement on a debt deal.

The company said in a statement it intends to reschedule certain debts.   

Al Jaber said last year it was in talks with lenders to discuss the terms of its facilities. A source familiar with the debt talks told Reuters in December that Al Jaber was seeking a one-year delay in the repayment of certain debts.

The panel of lenders is chaired by National Bank of Abu Dhabi and includes Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, HSBC, RBS and Union National Bank, the statement said.   

It added the banks' committee had been appointed in January, and is being advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Allen & Overy. Al Jaber Group is being advised by KPMG, Rothschild, and Norton Rose.

"The appointment of the CoCom (coordinating committee) and various advisers will ensure that the rescheduling is conducted in a professional and efficient manner allowing a timely conclusion to the process," said Obaid Khalifah Al Jaber, chairman of the group, in the statement.   

Al Jaber currently has $840 million in two syndicated facilities outstanding as well as bilateral loans. A $440 million five-year term syndicated loan is due to mature in September and a $400 million (Islamic) ijara facility expires in April 2013.

The company is one of the most prominent private sector family-owned firms in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, where the acknowledgment of financial difficulties has been minimal, in contrast to neighbouring Dubai, under the spotlight for its debt woes since late 2009.   

More Abu Dhabi names could face pressure to restructure debt coming due in the next 12 to 18 months. A Moody's report in 2010 said the Gulf has about $28 billion in debt due to mature in 2012, the majority being held by entities based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. - Reuters




Tags: abu dhabi | Construction | banks | Al Jaber |

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