Dubai mortgage lender Amlak Finance said on Thursday that all its creditors had approved a plan to restructure its debt, bringing to a close protracted talks over the last major hangover from the emirate’s property market crash of 2008.
Twenty-eight creditors had been seeking a deal with the Islamic lender, which had its shares suspended from trade on the Dubai Financial Market in November 2008 as the crash ravaged its finances.
Amlak, in which Dubai’s biggest developer Emaar Properties owns a 45 percent stake, did not give the size of the debt being restructured, but bankers have estimated it at about $2.7 billion.
“The Committee expects the restructuring to be completed and fully implemented in 2014, allowing Amlak’s shares to be re-admitted for trading on the DFM in early 2015,” the company said in a statement.
Amlak said it would shortly make an initial payment to creditors of approximately 2 billion dirhams ($545 million), with the remaining debt to be paid over a 12-year period.
As part of the deal, creditors will swap approximately 1.4 billion dirhams of their original debt into a “convertible instrument” which is to be fully redeemed over the next few years as Amlak sells some real estate assets whose values have appreciated, the statement added. Amlak declined to give further details of how the convertible instrument would work.
The firm would also repay over a six-year period liquidity support funds provided by the United Arab Emirates government. It did not reveal the size of that support.
A six-member creditor committee, including commercial banks such as Dubai’s Emirates NBD and Standard Chartered as well as two government funds, handled the talks with Amlak. Thursday’s deal was in line with a proposal to creditors that the company revealed in July this year.
Dubai’s property sector has rebounded strongly in the past two years, with the prices of some properties returning to 2008 levels. This has improved the fortunes of Dubai state-linked entities which did debt restructuring deals after the crash.
Property developer Nakheel said in June that it would repay all its outstanding debt to creditors, worth about $1.5 billion, by August this year, four years ahead of the schedule set by its restructuring plan.-Reuters