Airport retailer Dubai Duty Free has increased the size of a multi-tranche loan facility it is currently raising to $1.5bn, driven by high interest from local and international lenders, a senior Dubai government official said on Monday.
"We are raising $1.5bn and we are getting almost close to double that in terms of interest but hasn't been concluded yet," Mohammed Al Shaibani, the chief executive officer of Investment Corporation of Dubai, told Reuters in an interview.
"There is an opportunity and commercial banks know exactly what to go for," added Shaibani, who also head the Dubai ruler's court.
Dubai Duty Free had said in April it mandated banks for a $1.1bn financing facility to help fund an expansion at Dubai's international airport. The facility includes Islamic and conventional tranches.
Citibank along with Dubai Islamic, HSBC and Emirates NBD have been hired to arrange and coordinate the debut international transaction.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has committed to contribute to the loan but will not be involved in arranging it.
Dubai, which has clawed back from the depths of a crippling 2009 debt crisis, has been examining ways of raising finances to expand its existing aviation infrastructure after deciding to go slow on a $34bn new Al Maktoum Airport facility designed to become the biggest in the world.
The government raised a $1.25bn earlier this month through an Islamic bond.
Shaibani also said that DIFC Investments and Jebel Ali Free Zone, which have $3.25bn of debt maturing before the end of this year, may sell some of their "strategic assets" to other state-owned entities instead to other investors.
"Most of these entities are asset-rich but we are also very cautious not to divest some of these assets below value. If they need to, most likely, we will use or have some other government entities who are liquid or cash-rich to be able to acquire some of these assets instead of selling them cheap to somebody else."
ICD, which has invested in some Indian firms including the mobile towers arm of top carrier Bharti Airtel, will continue to explore opportunities in sectors like infrastructure and logistics in India but there some roadblocks, Shaibani said.
"For us to tap further investments we need to have more clarity in terms of policies and we need to have hopefully some kind of stable outlook for the rupee and some of the taxation issues that keep coming out."
The Indian rupee fell below the key psychological level of 55 to hit a new record low on Monday, making it Asia's worst-performing currency this year.