Dubai World on Thursday formally presented its $23.5 billion restructuring plan to scores of creditor banks as it seeks closure to its months-old debt crisis, but made clear that wrangling over the deal could grind on for some time.
The meeting was a chance for the indebted state-owned conglomerate to present its proposal and answer questions from creditors, according to an official speaking for the company. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with company policy, said agreement on the deal was likely "some months" away.
"As is customary at this stage of the process, this was an informational session and no resolution was sought in the meeting," Dubai World said in a brief statement following the gathering. "Creditor banks will now have the opportunity to review the information provided before responding to the proposal."
Dubai World is seeking to win over 73 creditor banks to the restructuring plan it outlined in March.
The proposal offers creditors full repayment on the principal of their outstanding loans over a five to eight year period, and gives them a range of repayment options. Some bankers have criticized the interest being offered, starting at 1 percent, as too low and below market rates.
The company already has the support of seven core banks owed about 60 percent of the debt. Those banks formed a coordinating committee to thrash out the broad terms of a repayment deal, which they agreed to in principal in May.
The committee's international members are Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, HSBC Holdings PLC, Lloyds Banking Group PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and Standard Chartered PLC. Local lenders Emirates NBD and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank are also part of the group.
The company said it will carry about $14.4 billion in bank debt if the restructuring plan goes ahead.
Dubai World's acute credit problems shocked world markets last November, reminding investors that the world's financial system remains exposed to immense amounts of debt that might not be repaid in full. Financial problems at the conglomerate — which has interests in businesses including ports, real estate and tourism — also raised fresh concerns about the lack of transparency in the oil-rich region.
The International Monetary Fund estimates the emirate of Dubai in total is shouldering as much as $109 billion in debt.
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