Creditor sale brings Dubai’s Limitless to brink of debt plan deal

April 20, 2016 11:20 pm

Construction sit in Dubai. (Image: Alamy)

Dubai-based property developer Limitless is set to complete a drawn-out debt restructuring after the final dissenting creditor sold its share of the company’s 4.45 billion dirhams ($1.2 billion) debt, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

 

New York-based Stonehill Capital Management sold its debt in the state-controlled company, worth around $15 million at face value, to Dubai Islamic Bank, an existing creditor and one of the members of the creditor committee, the sources said.

 

They declined to say at what price the debt was bought.

 

The sale means Limitless can now move ahead with its second debt restructuring since Dubai’s property crash around seven years ago and begin to try to turn around its fortunes when the emirate’s real estate sector is once again going through a softer period.

 

Nobody was available to comment from Stonehill Capital Management, while Dubai Islamic Bank and Limitless declined to comment.

 

Limitless needed all 18 creditor banks to agree to the plan, which involves extending its debt by two years to December 2018.

 

In return, Limitless will make an advance repayment of 2.07 billion dirhams to creditors, including 1.9 billion dirhams in bank debt and a further 176 million dirhams to trade creditors, using cash from the sale of land in Saudi Arabia.

 

The sources said payments should start flowing before the end of April, should all creditors sign the agreement in time.

 

Limitless’s talks with creditors have been painstaking, having started after it missed a $400 million payment deadline linked to a previous restructuring deal on Dec. 31, 2014.

 

In June 2015, the company said it had won the approval of almost 90 percent of banks to its latest restructuring. Securing the assent of holdouts, mostly U.S.-based hedge funds who had bought the debt at a percentage of its face value and were looking to make as large a profit as possible, took time though.

 

A deal moved closer earlier this year after Silver Point Capital, another U.S. hedge fund resisting the deal, sold half of its roughly $80 million loan to Dubai-based lender Mashreq and the other half to Massar Investments, an investment firm controlled by Mashreq’s owners.

 

Saudi Arabia’s Arab National Bank, another member of the creditor committee, also agreed to the plan after initially dissenting, two sources said.

 

Emirates NBD, Mashreq and National Bank of Abu Dhabi are the other creditor committee members.

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