Dubai Duty Free (DDF) along with Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), aims to raise $1.5 billion in loans to fund the Dubai airport expansion, up from the $1.1 billion originally sought following strong interest from banks.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Airport Show yesterday, Colm McLoughlin, DDF executive vice-chairman, added that the airport retailer is expected to finalise the deal in a couple of weeks.
DDF is fully owned by ICD, the main investment arm of Dubai government.
The move is in line with the aggressive expansion planned by the Dubai International Airport.The airport's management body, Dubai Airports, announced, in its Strategy Plan 2020, investments worth over Dh28.4 billion into expanding Dubai's airport, thereby increasing its capacity to over 90 million passengers annually to meet the future growth needs.
The current capacity of Dubai airport is 60 million passengers with 56 million passengers expected by year-end.
"When Concourse 3 opens in January next year, the capacity will reach 72 million passengers and when C4 opens leading up to 2020, the capacity will be 95 million," McLoughlin said.
Commenting on how Dubai Airports expected to fund the future growth of Dubai airport, Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and CEO of Emirates airline and Group, said: "We will do our financing on that. The project is over a four-year period. So we are doing that at the moment."
Asked if bonds or sukuk were an option in the raising of finance, Shaikh Ahmad said it's "one of the options" being considered. "We are in the process of deciding on the options. When we finish, we will announce."
The UAE airports together, meanwhile, have announced billions of dollars' worth of investments in airport expansion and improvement programmes.
Abu Dhabi Airports Company (Adac) earlier announced investments to the tune of Dh24.8 billion to expand the Abu Dhabi airport, taking the capacity up to 40 million passengers a year, with the project due to be completed in 2015-2016.
Similarly, Sharjah intends to reportedly spend Dh500 million in expanding its airport and Fujairah Dh160 million.
Quoting a report by global consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan, the Airport Show's organisers said in a statement that "$86 billion (Dh315.8 billion) will be spent by Middle East airports in expansion plans until 2025".