Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) has held talks with banks about raising a loan to help fund its general operations, the first time the firm has commissioned such a facility in years, three banking sources told Reuters on Thursday.
While it is a rarity for the company to raise money not tied to a specific project, a loan would be the latest example of a Dubai state-backed entity tapping banks to take advantage of low borrowing rates and the emirate’s resurgent economy.
Talks are at a preliminary stage to sound out banks about what Dubal could raise in the loan market, the sources said on condition of anonymity because the information is not public.
They said no formal invitation for banks to participate has been sent out, nor have arranging banks been put in place.
Dubal merged last year with Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Aluminium (Emal) to create Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), the world’s fifth-largest aluminium company with an enterprise value of about $15 billion.
Prior to the tie-up, Dubal was owned equally by Emal and Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the sovereign fund which holds stakes in some of the emirate’s top companies.
Dubal is still an entity within EGA, which is owned by Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala and the Dubai fund, so it can borrow money in its own right.
An EGA spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
A number of Dubai state-linked entities have approached the loan markets recently given the favourable market conditions: some to raise new cash and others to refinance existing debt which was secured when borrowing rates were higher.
Tecom Investments, a unit of Dubai Holding, is in talks to borrow up to 4 billion dirhams ($1.1 billion) for expansion and to provide funds to its parent company, the personal investment vehicle of the emirate’s ruler.
Meraas Holding, a state-owned property firm developing some of Dubai’s most ambitious real estate projects, is in talks with banks to raise up to $4 billion.
Dubai Duty Free and ports operator DP World have refinanced loans with most of their lifespan remaining in recent months to secure better pricing, while Atlantis, The Palm, the luxury hotel situated at the top of a palm-shaped manmade island is currently doing so.