Dubai’s ship building unit Drydocks World, in negotiations to restructure a $2.2 billion loan facility, will present terms of the proposal to lenders on March 8, seeking to put an end to the long-drawn and complex debt talks.
The debt restructuring of the Dubai World unit, initially expected to be completed by April last year, has dragged on as the presence of hedge funds and a lack of government support curbed prospects of an amicable deal.
Drydocks now hopes to complete the restructuring by July, its chairman Khamis Juma Buamim said in an email statement.
“With the support of its wider stakeholders, significant progress has been made over recent months in all aspects of the restructuring,” Buamim said.
The syndicated facility, taken out to finance acquisitions in Singapore in October 2008, comprised a $1.7 billion three-year loan paying 170 basis points and a five-year $500 million loan with a 190 basis points margin, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Bookrunners on the 15-lender syndicate were BNP Paribas, HSBC Mashraq, Standard Chartered and Lloyd TSB Bank among others.
“Drydocks can today announce that it is confident that it will receive the support of a majority of its syndicated lenders to the terms of its debt restructuring,” said Buamim.
Dubai stunned global markets in 2009 when it sought a standstill on $26 billion in debts related to Dubai World. It reached an agreement with banks last year to extend debt maturities by promising repayment mostly through asset sales.
Other Dubai World entities are also struggling with their debt maturities, including industrial free zone operator Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) that is looking to refinance a $2 billion Islamic bond.
Buamim said in December that Drydocks looks to extend debt repayment for between five to eight years, which would be similar to the time frame reached by parent Dubai World.
The shipbuilding unit of Dubai World is not regarded as a strategic asset by Dubai, meaning it has had to negotiate its own debt solution without the support of the government.
It is eyeing joint ventures for its Southeast Asia business, which could be sold off later to prospective partners if they proved to be successful.