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Dubai Leaders Visit U.S., Try to Rebuild Confidence

Thursday, 17 Dec 2009 08:22 AM

Top Dubai officials were due in New York on Thursday in an effort to rebuild confidence in the Gulf emirate's finances while at home, developers got back to the business of ambitious construction and leisure projects.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee and uncle of Dubai's ruler, and Mohammed al-Shaibani, chief executive of the Investment Corporation Dubai, which oversees the government's investments, met financial and political officials in London on Wednesday.

A government source said they were due to visit New York and Washington on Thursday and Friday.

Dubai shook global markets and confidence on November 25 when it asked for a standstill on $26 billion of debt linked to its flagship company Dubai World and its two main property units, Nakheel and Limitless.

But this week, Dubai's wealthier neighbor Abu Dhabi lent it $10 billion to meet Dubai World's debt obligations until the end of April and to stave off a bond default by Nakheel, developer of the emirate's palm-shaped islands.

Dubai's government may also repay outstanding 2010 and 2011 Islamic bonds issued by Nakheel and consider providing further funds to Dubai World, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are both part of the United Arab Emirates, the world's third largest oil exporter. Banks had lent to Dubai government-linked firms on the implicit understanding that they were backed by the federal government or Abu Dhabi and were spooked by the crisis.

In Dubai itself, developers looked to the future.

Development on Nakheel's The World islands, one of the assets the developer may look to sell amid the debt crunch, is set to begin within months, a newspaper said.

And a unit of Dubai Properties Group, which is owned by the ruler of Dubai's holding firm, said on Thursday it was committed to completing its Tiger Woods golf course, as the world's top golfer grapples with a sex scandal.

In the boom years, Dubai lured wealthy visitors and courted the media with celebrity-endorsed projects and developments such as The World, an archipelago in the shape of a world map.

But whereas neighbors funded growth with proceeds from soaring oil prices, Dubai borrowed to invest through a network of state-linked conglomerates that offered limited transparency.

Dubai World's troubles have raised fears among investors that other government-linked firms could also face problems.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Top Dubai officials were due in New York on Thursday in an effort to rebuild confidence in the Gulf emirate's finances while at home, developers got back to the business of ambitious construction and leisure projects. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of Dubai's...
Dubai,Projects,Leaders,Visit,U.S.
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2009-22-17
 

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