Dana Gas, the Sharjah-based natural gas firm, failed to pay the outstanding $920 million on an Islamic convertible bond that matured on Wednesday, becoming the first United Arab Emirates company to fail to repay a bond.
The UAE’s largest listed natural gas firm, hit by payment delays from Egypt and Iraq’s Kurdistan region, said it had also missed a $18.75 million accrued profit payment due on October 30.
“Dana Gas is in ongoing discussions with an ad-hoc committee of sukuk holders over terms to amend and extend the sukuk,” it said in a bourse statement.
Dana had a $1 billion sukuk maturing on October 31. It repurchased about $80 million of the sukuk in 2008, leaving $920 million outstanding.
The five-year sukuk, which was issued with a 7.5 per cent coupon, has gained international interest as a majority of the debt is said to be owned by large investment firms including BlackRock Inc and Ashmore Group.
Dana said liquidity challenges, mainly due to non-payments from Egypt and Kurdistan, are “short-term” and it is committed to finding a consensual solution with the bondholders.
In May, Dana said it had hired Blackstone Group, Deutsche Bank and law firm Latham & Watkins as advisers.
Investors have hired Moelis and law firm Linklaters as advisers.
Dana’s shares and bond has been under pressure on investor worries of non-payment of the outstanding bond. On Tuesday, Reuters reported that the company was set to miss the payment of the sukuk.
In a separate statement, Dana said its third-quarter net profit fell 27 per cent to Dhs104 million ($28.31 million) from Dhs143 million a year-ago. Its cash balances as of September 30 stood at Dhs516 million.